Toronto Life - The Dish

The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to



Chicken and doughnuts, together at last at Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken

Devin Connell (Delica Kitchen) was torn between two loves: a really good, artisanal doughnut and super-crunchy fried chicken. “I knew I wanted to open a place that focused on one thing, did one thing only, and did it really well, but I couldn’t decide,” she told us. “Then, one night I woke up and thought, ‘I don’t have to choose! Why not do both?’” And so, with Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, Connell—of the Ace Bakery Connells—along with brother Luke and chef Graham Bower (Pangaea, Globe, Delica), is bringing her idea of a very happy meal to Leslieville. “We don’t shy away from what our food is: it’s not healthy food. It’s happy food. And it’s made with wholesome ingredients.”

Food is also what made Connell’s grandmother Paulette, the take-out joint’s namesake, happy. “She was from Belgium and came here after the Second World War to marry my grandfather, a Canadian soldier,” she said. “Every day we spent with her was an eat-a-thon and her philosophy was ‘more butter and butter on everything!’ She’s my inspiration for this place… and she lived to be 95.” Sure, the low-fat police will not be pleased with this shrine to deep-frying, but Connell is betting the neighbourhood won’t be able to resist the aromas of Korean-style fried chicken wafting from the kitchen’s exhaust system. Just like its Southern cousin, Korean fried chicken is served in quarters, but the corn starch and rice flour batter is much lighter and the bird is twice-fried, like a Belgian frite, making it crispier than the norm. “The coating is so crispy, it just shatters in the mouth!”

Back from a fact-finding—i.e. doughnut- and fried chicken–eating—mission in New York City’s Korean joints and cutting edge doughnut shops, the trio are deep into the recipe-testing phase of what Connell calls the “Canadian version of chicken and waffles.” So far, she’s keeping mum on the flavours they’re experimenting with for their chicken dipping sauces, flavoured salts, flavoured sugars and doughnut batters and glazes. Laments Connell, “We have doughnut shops on every corner, but no one is making really good, cake-style, artisanal doughnuts in exotic flavours.” And certainly, no one’s selling them with Korean fried chicken.

Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, 913 Queen St. E.,

  • grimey


  • CM

    Love Delica. Had it today, actually. So obviously will support this. Good luck.

  • Bobby G

    Fact finding in NYC, eh? Well if his cake doughnuts are half as good as The Donut Plant I’m there every week!

  • Frank F

    Yesssss! My dreams are coming true.

  • JB


  • alexd

    Bahahaha! “artisanal donuts” is the most pretentiously yuppie thing I have ever heard of in my entire life… Even before they are open I will give them a 5 star rating for marketing hype. Sounds like the perfect food for the over-mortgaged new Leslievillian to line up for.

  • Jessie

    Ill take an made from scratch donut over a pre-frozen artificially flavoured piece of fried dough any day!! I’ll be there opening day.

  • alexd

    I prefer my donuts free range, gluten free, and play classical music to them as they are deep frying in oil. They are massaged into shape by skilled artisans who have been making such donuts for like 2 weeks, they are not extruded from some donut making machine by minimum wage kitchen help, but rather carefully shaped with love, and only during certain phases of the moon.

  • Deanna

    Just admit that this is a rip off of Federal Donuts in Philly. Already.

  • Chris Macdonald

    What a thoughtful combination. I never imagined following deepfried chicken with deepfried donuts. Here’s hoping deepfried salad greens are available so as to maintain my nutritional balance. See you there!

  • East Ender

    Wash it all down with deep fried Coke.

  • JB

    I think Federal copied Happy Donuts/ Lousiana Fried chicken in San Francisco and Pasadena. tough to be original these days. Let’s hope it stacks up.

  • Donna

    What the east end needs is a Stockyards.

  • Henry Corbusier

    Is this for the “line-up for food made in trucks” crowd? A new by-law is about to be reviewed wich would require all purveyors of trash-can food to move to the edge of the city. Let’s hope our good friend Mayor Ford votes it through.

  • Davee

    What the east side REALLY needs is a FRESH! a place like that would make an absolute killing.

  • Laura

    I grew up in Leslieville and lunch at The Duke of connaught was always better when I had Chick-N-Joy. I tried Paulettes and it was not what fried chicken should aspire to be. It was greasy and unaffordable at $8. No thanks, it was really disappointing.