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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Siebert

Donut Sleep on Dough EV: A Cozy Cafe for Sweet Connections

If making donuts is an art, then Dough EV creates masterpieces! Their donuts are made to perfection and best enjoyed in their cozy Old East Village cafe. More than a business, however, Dough EV is a space for connection. Read on to learn how nostalgia, creativity, and community make the tastiest combination!

Owner Tara Davies stands in front of Dough EV's bright and happy wall mural.

Before Tara Davies was the mind behind the most delicious donuts in London, she was a nurse in Vancouver. When burnout crept in and her husband’s job moved them to Montreal, Tara recognized the moment as the right time for a change.

In a sweet career pivot, she began working at Léché Desserts, an artisanal donut and dessert shop in Montreal. There, Tara learned under the owner and loved not only the work but also the shop’s social nature. When Tara’s family moved back to Ontario, she brought this passion along. It would be years yet before Dough EV came to life. 

Old East Village Roots

The Root Cellar now serves as a venue for intimate concerts upstairs.

“I was kind of always on the lookout for some place to do this, but it was really needing to find the correct space to be in,” Tara says. “A cookie-cutter style building was not what I was looking for.”

This space would eventually be found at 621 Dundas Street, the former home of The Root Cellar, a beloved restaurant which closed its doors in 2020. With an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients, The Root Cellar acted as a hub for good food and good company. Dough EV carries on this mission, paying homage by centering the community and quality in their work.

“It was really hard on this neighbourhood to lose this space,” Tara admits. “We were really happy to take it on, but that also was incredibly nerve-wracking… We’re really honoured that Ellie and Jeff chose to let us be the caretakers of this space.”

Step Inside Dough EV’s Cozy Cafe

Enjoying a Classic Chocolate donut in Dough EV's newly expanded space.

And what a space it is! Large windows let the sunlight stream in, illuminating the cafe’s high ceilings and brick walls. An adorable mural features smiling donuts and coffee mugs. At a retro pink-tiled counter, a glass case shows off the day’s donut flavours. Behind the bar, employees whip up drinks while chatting with customers.

Dough EV recently expanded into the second half of the building. This allowed them to add a living room seating area, complete with comfy couches. Nearby, a collection of toys waits for the littlest donut lovers. As a parent to young kids, it’s important to Tara that the cafe is a place where families feel welcome too.

“The happiest time for me is when this cafe is just full of people hanging out,” she says. “That’s the mission of this space. We’re selling food and drink but that’s only one aspect of what this is really about.”

Nostalgia and New Memories

Dough EV's Oreo donut is a classic and delicious staple.

One of the biggest questions is: why donuts? Nostalgia plays a big role in Tara’s love of the pastries. “There’s a huge Canadian culture around donuts,” she notes. Her vision is that Dough EV brings back an old-school donut shop vibe, while providing high-quality coffee and some affordable lunch options.

A donut-centric shop presents an exciting challenge for creatives. “You can turn a donut into basically any dessert!” Tara says. Dough EV’s donuts don’t have a lot of sugar, so they serve as a blank canvas for the bakers. On any given day, Dough EV offers over a dozen flavours, ranging from classic favourites to inventive creations.

“I’m always a purist,” Tara says, “so I definitely think sugar and spice is the best place to start because that’s how you see that our dough is made properly. There’s a lot of care and attention that goes into the foundation.” She also shouts out their delightfully unexpected passion fruit flavours and the nostalgic maple blueberry pancake donut.

“We’re very big on flavour as opposed to just making things look pretty. Every aspect of the donut is for flavour or to bring back some nostalgic feeling,” Tara says. “We have people email us that the lemon meringue tastes like their mom’s pie!”

The Art of Donut Making

A peek inside Dough EV's display case: set at the perfect height for kids to pick their treat!

Dough EV always has staple flavours on hand, but the more creative flavours change up every so often. For a while, they pushed themselves to launch new flavours to start each month, but Tara says now the kitchen staff are driven by bursts of creativity. 

“People like predictability, but from an inspiration perspective it doesn’t work that way. And I also can’t hold onto anything once I’ve created something. I can’t wait until the first of the month, I need to do it now!”

This creative process perfectly shows how Dough EV approaches donut-making as an art. The sweet final product is the work of much experimentation and collaboration. Removing the pressure of a timeline gives Dough EV the freedom to share creations they’re truly excited about once they're perfect.

Connecting the Community

A cute character sits on Dough EV's counter.

Although Dough EV only celebrates their first year in business this summer, they burst onto the London scene with a desire to form relationships. “We are community builders as people,” Tara says. “Getting into competition with other businesses I don’t think is going to make where we live a better place.”

This philosophy has led to creative partnerships, like cronuts made with neighbour Artisan Bakery’s croissant dough. They’ve also developed a network of retailers in London, St. Thomas, and Zurich! You can find their donuts at places like Sidetrack Cafe, Streamliners, SAGA, and at many area markets. “It makes more sense for us to all rally together,” Tara says.

May's cronut collab with Artisan Bakery was malted cereal milk.

Dough EV also hosts events with an emphasis on inclusion. Recently, their sold-out Dungeons & Donuts series invited D&D players to meet new friends for an adventure. Tables were available for all experience levels, as well as LGBTQ+ players, players who identify as female, and caregivers and children.

Other events this spring have included a coffee-tasting seminar and an all-ages concert. Coming up, Dough EV will host a Meet Cute on June 22 for Soft Flirt’s Soft Fest. Their aim, in both events and daily operations, is to keep community spaces affordable and accessible.

“We’ve had some people from Fanshawe and Western do research projects on us. All of these students were shocked that the goal of our business is not to make money. The goal of our business is larger than that,” Tara says. “This is where we want to be. This is our love letter to this city.”

Come Say Hi!

Visit Dough EV at 621 Dundas Street in London's Old East Village.

Show some love back and bake a visit to Dough EV into your routine! Catch up with friends over coffee or bring the family out for weekend fun. Bring a box of donuts to the office and treat yourself after a long day. Find Dough EV on Instagram to follow along with their journey!


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