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Introducing: Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, Leslieville’s new house of indulgence

Introducing: Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken

Owner Devin Connell with her doughnut slingers, decked out in ’50s garb (Image: Signe Langford)

Back in May we told you about the happy convergence of two of Toronto’s favourite fried things that was about to take place in Leslieville in the form of Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken. Well, the deed is done and Leslievillians are lining up. Maybe not quite Sunday-brunch-out-the-door-onto-the-sidewalk lining up, but a near-bewildered Devin Connell (Delica Kitchen) tells us she’s been running out of doughnuts by 3 p.m. and chicken by 6—and they’re open until 7 (they’re working on this). But since her chicken isn’t a freezer-to-fryer kind of thing (it goes through a 24-hour process of brining, battering and double frying), there can be a bit of a lag in replenishing exhausted stores. Connell is truly blown away by the response. “We’ve been selling out—doing almost 300 covers a day—from the moment we opened.”

Connell explains that it’s the vital double-frying step that gives the naturally raised, free-run birds their fearsome crunch (snack size, $8; half-chicken, $13; whole chicken, $21). Don’t expect some KFC taste-alike, though—Connell based her recipe more on Korean fried chicken than on the dirty bird of the American South. Of course there are all the regular sides you’d expect ($4–14): slaw, corn bread and a sharp and slightly spicy mac-and-cheese topped with little bits of crispy chicken skin, all of which can be washed down with a house-made frozen hot chocolate ($3.25). As for the doughnuts ($2.75 each), there are seven flavours available every day out of a roster of whatever Connell and her chef, Graham Bower (Pangaea, Globe, Delica) can imagine: mango yuzu, blueberry balsamic, raspberry rose. If the colours seem a tad muted, it’s because the kitchen doesn’t use any artificial colourings or flavourings, only fresh, natural fruit purées. These are cake doughnuts, not the yeasty kind most people are familiar with, with a more crumbly texture than your average Tim Hortons product. To make these greaseless donuts, Connell splashed out on a Donut Robot shipped up from the States. “It was a major investment, but it’s worth it for perfect, consistent doughnuts.”

The tiny takeout space is breezy and bright in Tiffany blue, white, chrome and glass. Connell’s aunt, Hope Thomson, pulled the look together with one-of-a-kind finds, like two vintage pendant lamps, a tall mirror and an antique bench outside. The cheery staff are decked out in crisp, white, 1950s-style diner gear, soda jerk hat and all. On the wall beside the takeout window is a display case—à la jewellery stores—showcasing one of each of the day’s doughnuts.

Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, 913 Queen St. E., 647-748-1177,, @Paulettesorig

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  • Sally

    Too bad it’s not awesome :(

    The yelp reviews say it all. BOO.

  • Dizzy

    I dunno, Sally, while the chicken would be a very once-in-a-while treat for me, I think their cake doughnuts are delicious. I can see myself grabbing one of them and a coffee on the regular. I hope she’s successful anyway, good luck to her.

  • james t

    love this place. lol i trust TL over yelp sally…;) been twice for donuts but yet to try chicken. great flavors. nothing like it in the city. love how people annonymously hate on these comment sections lol

  • MB

    Great donuts. Leslieville is getting better and better with the pumps now these guys openning up. hopefully commisary gets it going soon as well. First time i went they were a little flustered but the food was good. Chicken was good, but id go back for the donuts….anyone know if they are gonna change their flavours?

  • jj

    this place is UNBELIEVABLE. i have never tasted chicken OR donuts as good as this place. i will likely be taking my child here every weekend.

  • Joy

    Brought 12 donuts to work today. I was the office hero. My favorite was the raspberry rose! Sooo delicious! I’ll be back soon. So far so good! Can’t wait to try the chicken.

  • Ray Dog

    Chicken kicks ass. Had it both days on the weekend and can’t get enough. Actually craving it again today if that’s possible. Love me some of that Mac and cheese too. :-)

  • Peg

    Stopped in today right at 11:30am to make sure we got the chicken when it was ready. The chicken, donuts and the frozen hot chocolate were yummy! We ordered 2 sides, corn bread and mac n cheese. The mac n cheese did not come out good so they didn’t serve it, which is great. The corn bread was awesome! We ended up ordering the slaw instead of the mac n cheese and it was awful. There was no seasonings! We poured our maple chili sauce in it and it tasted a little better. Will be back for sure!

  • Joel

    Best donuts in Toronto. No question. Try the blueberry balsamic. D’oreo is a close second.

  • Henry Blumenthal

    Wow! Fried food really turns people on in TO. Sadly I was unable to maintain my nutritional balance as the fried salad was unavailable :)

  • cathie

    I was going to check them out but too many “meh” reviews on Chowhound. And their prices are way too high for what you’re getting.

  • Bob

    The donuts are amazing! Fried chicken, not so much seems to be the consensus, and having visited twice, I would agree.

  • jen

    I was just eating a “Sweet & Sour” Chicken ball from the local Chinese place last night saying, “Two of my favourite things, donuts and fried chicken… yum.”. This will definitely be my new favourite take out spot!!

  • Al

    Best doughnuts in town

  • Sally

    yeah. i get it.
    you (one person, obviously .. with 2 minutes between each comment!!!) love this place. gee, i wonder who wrote them. HAHAHAHAHHAAA!!!

  • JD

    I visited the first day it opened. Cute place and nice concept but there are some things that need improvement. Chicken was crispy and moist and I loved the garam masala salt. So if I have a fried chicken craving I would go back. But, the sides need work. The slaw needs a better dressing with more flavour. The Mac and cheese was down right awful…mushy and flavourless. The made to order donut holes were nothing to write home about. I’m sure they will do well but they definitely need to kick it up a knotch.

  • mmm

    I agree with cathie, it does sound totally overpriced for the donuts, though the fried chicken sounds like it might be worth a shot, just not on a regular basis esp if it’s double-fried!!

  • Ryan North

    I ate here and my friend Andrew paid for it and it was REALLY TASTY, nobody listen to Sally

  • Lee

    Chicken is good, can’t order only white meat, corn bread was okay (over priced) add some fries amd home made bisquits and they will do well.

  • AxelDM

    @Ryan North
    Yeah Sally is a real heinous bitch, She deserves to be pelted with rocks IMHO. Let us cast off the nonbelievers and rejoice in the afterglow of fried, boxed, splendor.

  • JaQ

    Tried two of the doughnuts, they’re really nothing spectacular, the glazed one was wayyy too sweet after a few bites, and the pretzels were a stale garnish on the other one. I only ate half of either, threw the rest out. Try one for yourself but I wouldn’t start with a dozen, you may be left disappointed and out 30 bucks.

  • Cabinstomped

    Has anyone ever seen Ryan and Sally in the same place at the same time?