One of Granville Island's oldest vendors. Handmade donuts in a great setting.
Hubby, the two kids and I decided to check out the Olympic Line on its last day of operation.
Since we were at Granville Island anyway, we decided to go for a walk around. Just a note - I don't like Granville Island. Yes, there are some nice artisan shops and theater - but other than that - I really don't get too excited about their over-priced eateries and I find Granville Island Public Market a pain to navigate and offer stuff that I can get elsewhere for much less money.
Anyways, we felt like a donut and hubby had been saying that he liked Lee's Donuts in the past.
So, my impression...
Ambiance - it is a crowded public market - there is no seating - its just a counter to buy donuts. We went outside so my kids wouldn't be walked over/into by self absorbed yuppies parading around. Outside, drivers in cars wanted to drive where we were walking and park where we were standing. Found a bench, sat and ate.
Service - staff took your order, took your money, handed you your bag of donuts. We also ordered two small coffees. At least the clerk had the decency to pick up a tiny styrofoam cup and say "this is a small." Yep, she was right. It was the smallest cup I had ever seen. I have used a cup this size to wash my eye. The donuts where all packed into a small bag which I could then barely fold over to grasp it and carry it.
After I retrieved my children's chocolate sprinkled donuts (1/4 of the chocolate icing fell off because they were tightly packed in), I tasted my own jelly donut. It was barely holding together. Don't get me wrong - I don't want a "dense" donut - but this thing was actually flimsy. It was over stuffed with jelly, which wasn't particularly tasty and globs of it fell out onto my jeans.
I tasted a bit of my kid's donut and found the chocolate icing (what little didn't rub off the sides of the bag) utterly tasteless. I only assume it was chocolate because it was brown.
The Yuppies can keep Granville Island and enjoy its substandard offerings.
For decent donuts - try the unpretentious, excellent value of Duffin Donuts on 41st and Main. The customers aren't as pretty and well groomed, but at least the donuts and coffee are good!
I knew about Lee's from an article that I read. I decided to stop by, when I went on my little olympic outing. OMG.....it was so.......good!!!
The honey glazed donut was still hot.
I thought the price was a little expensive for a donut, but well worth it.
I had a lemon filled donut. The filling was really good, and the donut itself was very fluffy.
Definately going back!!!
I have lived in False Creek for most of my life. As a child, I loved to hit Granville Island for snacks and desserts. Up until about four years ago, Lee's used to be a highlight of Granville Island. Their donuts used to reflect their family-run image.
The changes at Lee's began with their staff. Owner-operators were replaced with lazy, rude teenaged girls. Then, fewer varieties were appearing on the donut shelves. Thennn, the donuts themselves began to taste greasy and slightly burnt. THEN, I stopped patronising this establishment.
Vancouver's donut scene is dismal. I was recently in New York and found a life-altering donut shop: pistachio, mandarin and toffee glazes...fluffy dough...crispy, non-greasy exteriors. We need better donuts.
I used to be able to brag about Lee's, and now I only disavow it. Let Lee's know how disappointed you are!
I have to say in all the years I have been going to Granville Island Market, Lee's Donuts have always been there and there is always a line-up.
I bought some donuts the other day which I haven't had them for years. I was going to go to Krispy Kremes but someone was saying that Lee's is so much better than them.
I bought a dozen donuts and they were really good. Tasty just like the old days. A little too pricey but it seems like everything is expensive nowadays right.
I like the fact that you can see the kitchen and it's in the open, you can watch them make them outside standing at the window. ( I have to see how clean the kitchen is and the people).
The girl behind the counter did have her long hair down when serving the donuts to me but then she did put her hair up, but please tie your hair up before hand.
Good delicious Donuts, must try place when in Granville Island Market!!!!
I remember the olden days when my mom use to come home with a dozen donuts from Lee's and they were always so FRESH. I took my kids to Lee's to see how donuts were made and the supervising staff were welcoming and accommodating. Their cook, Alvin, is just a wonderful fellow with a big smile and he kindly displayed every step of donut-making with tremendous patience. I understand Alvin's been with Lee's for 25 years so they must be doing something right in terms of consistency through the years, albeit I suppose they have had "off" days according to the first 2 reviews.
I enjoy Lee's different from Krispy Kreme because they have more substance and bite when you want something more substantial. I can pop an awful lot of Krispy Kremes and get a toothache from the sugar before I get full.
I commend Lee's for making their donuts truly fresh from scratch every day. The outcome is a homemade tasting donut without the synthetic stamp of some chains. Plus, their ambiance is all about the small shop being located in the Public Market and having a large outside window so that onlookers can peer into their kitchen and be engulfed into the world of donuts.
Lee's Donuts have been a favourite of mine for some time, and I'm busily introducing people to them when I get the chance.
I have found they are always fresh, and sometimes hot (making them extra delicious). They also keep well for a day or so in the fridge (mine don't last longer than this usually).
The staff have always been friendly and cheerful, and I enjoy coming here.
This is not a sit down place though, so if you are looking for that type of thing don't come here. I like to get my donuts and then go around the corner to the JJ Bean counter for my coffee. Yum.
That said...if you are coming here for the crepes don't expect to be equally amazed. I'd go to a crepe place for amazing crepes..but these ones past muster. They are basic and not terrible...but nothing special.
Not everyone agrees with the first two reviews. Ive never gone there on Weekends, but ive never had a problem with the service or the doughnuts on the weekdays. All around, you get what you pay for, and its definately better than Tim Hortons, dry & chewy doughnuts. Were not going to even discuss Krispy Creme. The place over all seemed fine with me. I spotted the staff washing up before a customer ordered a crepe my last trip there. The crepes are made to order I might add... I was happy with that. Id say my favorite donut would be the Honeydip or the Jelly. The fritters are huge to, Ive never purchased one, but I will one day perhaps.
It does get busy from time to time so I understand the service cant be 100% ALL the time. I was never asked "What do You Want?" I cant see that happening there, not recently anyway.
I love the place and like the fact its in my neighbourhood....
From what I understand its been here for years.
ROCK ON!!! lees!
I have to agree with the previous reviewer. We were there last weekend. Around 1pm and they only had 1/2 a dozen flavours to choose from. Most shelves were empty, and this is on a Saturday.
The service was ridiculously rude, "What do you want?" She rudely yells at me over the counter. I got one of their bon bons, the chocolate glaze had no taste of chocolate, just of sugar. The custard also tasted like sugar water. The donut itself was dry, chewy and salty.
You could see the kitchen, dirty and disorganized.
This is certainly a very poor product, and poor presentation. I most likely will never get a donut here again.