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Restaurant review: Primo’s Donuts caters to its college audience, diverse options sweeten experience

Primo’s Donuts opened its Westwood location on Sept 18, replacing the corner lot on Weyburn Avenue that was previously occupied by Stan’s Donuts. Offering classic raised donuts and crowd favorite buttermilk bites, the shop provides an updated take on a timeless staple. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)

Primo's Donuts

10948 Weyburn Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90024

By Zinnia Finn

Sept. 21, 2021 12:56 p.m.

This post was updated Sept. 22 at 10:45 p.m.

Primo’s Donuts proves the tastiest ideas can be found inside the box.

Founded in 1956, the Los Angeles-based doughnut shop opened its Westwood location on Sept. 18. The highly anticipated debut followed the footsteps of Stan’s Donuts, which shut its Weyburn Avenue doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoping to continue the legacy of a family-owned business, the Primo family snagged the spot and plans to bring fresh doughnuts to Bruins day in and day out.

Upon entry, the interior design is retro with modern hues and composed of clean lines illuminated by the shop’s double walls of windows. Bright whites glisten alongside golden accent stripes above the counter, and pops of yellow are highlighted with the interior seating area. Paired with the light teal doughnut boxes and glossy blue logo stickers, the familiar color palette is sure to make any Bruin feel welcome.

With only two tables and a bar counter, the shop has limited indoor study space, offset only by a handful of tables set up alongside the exterior for outdoor seating. This creates a homey atmosphere, but when combined with the bustle of patrons, the design comes at the cost of a peaceful study space. Instead, the corner location is better situated for a quick bite to eat or a Sunday morning chat with friends.

Eager to provide an updated experience, the storefront caters toward a college town with its extended hours and variety of coffee drinks. While the Sawtelle Boulevard shop closes at 4 p.m. on weekdays, the Westwood Primo’s stays open until 8 p.m. – with doors shutting as late as 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Accommodating students’ stereotypical need for caffeine, the store’s classic drip coffee is supplemented by coffee offerings from cappuccinos to Americanos.

(Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)
Supplementing classic drip coffee with a diverse array of espresso-based drinks, Primo’s Donuts aims to offer a relevant menu for the college students of Westwood. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)

[Related: Restaurant review: Bluestone Lane offers a taste of Melbourne’s coffee culture]

Among their diverse lineup of doughnuts, the star of the show is the shop’s signature treat: the Primo’s buttermilk bar. Also offered as miniature buttermilk bites, the doughnut offers a dense but springy interior and a slightly finer crumb. The classic bar isn’t too sweet, but rather complements its sugary glaze with a pleasant buttermilk tang.

Another crowd favorite, the butterfly, is a raised cinnamon-layered doughnut with a crumb topping. The innovative shape allows customers to view the spiraled cross-section from both sides and entices browsers from its top-shelf perch in the display case. Though a bit too light on the cinnamon, what the treat lacks in spice is made up for in the textured crumb topping.

Aside from their preselected boxes, however, none of the pastry or drink prices are visible in the shop. If selecting a box of half a dozen doughnuts themselves, customers may need to ask employees for the costs or expect a total heftier than $13 at the register. This holds particularly true for purchases of their specialty doughnuts – a bacon maple bar is priced at $4.25, nearly twice the price of their classic cake option.

And for the priciest option, the bacon maple doughnut fell below the bar. The bacon was too smoky and nearly overpowered the saccharine maple glaze, while the visual appeal offered by the hand-chopped bacon bits was achieved at the cost of a suboptimal crunchy-to-chewy balance. The raised dough base was as satisfying as its circular counterpart, but unfortunately lost the spotlight to other overbearing flavorful elements.

(Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)
The interior design of the shop is based off a UCLA color palette with yellow chairs, gold accents and glossy blue doughnut boxes. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin)

[Related: Restaurant review: Alfred Coffee brings original brews but steep prices to Westwood]

On the more affordable side of the spectrum, Primo’s vegan and gluten-free options are nestled in the bottom right corner of the display case and are the dark horses of the Primo’s lineup which should not be overlooked. When compared to its traditional option, the blueberry vegan doughnut has a similar crumb and nearly identical flavor, and its purple glaze packs a fruity punch that fully delivers for its $2.75 price tag.

Adhering to the shop’s tradition, all the doughnuts in the store are made fresh daily, but between the COVID-19 pandemic and other opening delays, the kitchen of the Westwood location remains unfinished. This conundrum calls for a temporary stock from the Sawtelle store, with workers bringing in piles of doughnut-filled boxes during the day.

A saving grace of the cramped delivery process is the endearing ferry of pink parcels through the doors, which elicits a feeling that the shop really is family-owned and family-run. Though the supply chain stunt eliminates early-morning variety, it offers a silver lining of spotting members of the Primo family in emblemed shirts.

Bruins returning to campus may be missing Stan’s, but Primo’s fills that doughnut-shaped hole.

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Zinnia Finn | Daily Bruin senior staff
Finn is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment and PRIME. She was previously the Lifestyle editor from 2021-2022, an Arts reporter from 2020-2021 and a member of PRIME’s first intern class from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and public health student from San Francisco, California.
Finn is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment and PRIME. She was previously the Lifestyle editor from 2021-2022, an Arts reporter from 2020-2021 and a member of PRIME’s first intern class from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and public health student from San Francisco, California.
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