Gates Donut Shop

Welcome to Corpus Christi’s favorite donut.

Open the gates, everybody! It’s time to visit Gates Donut Shop in Mindy’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. We’re taking a bit of a detour today by not covering a full-service restaurant, but we felt the best way to introduce our first coverage of the Corpus Christi area was to show something iconic, and Gates Donuts certainly fits the bill. The simple storefront is a Corpus landmark, and tourists and locals alike flock to the block-letter sign.

The spread (what we didn’t devour on the way home)

The Donuts

The donuts at Gates fall under three umbrella categories–cake, glazed, filled, and specialty. From the cake section, we ordered chocolate and classic, but the option list goes on and on, from blueberry to cinnamon sugar. In our opinion, the best way to judge a donut place is by their take on the classic cake, and Gates Donuts did not disappoint. Their cake donuts are thick, sugary, and not one crumb could be called dry. They’re truly *chef’s kiss.*

The ever-important ooze of the chocolate-filled donut

From the filled collection, we ordered chocolate and apple. We were sorely tempted by the raspberry as well, but a line must be drawn somewhere! The apple-filled donut was more akin to a very puffy apple turnover. As for the chocolate, well, if you can see the delightful ooze in the photo above, you can probably guess how that went. 

Tragically, we arrived too late for them to still have our prime choice of glazed, the buttermilks, but we were able to  pick up some traditional glazed donuts. While happy with what we did get, we beg of you to learn from our dire mistakes and Get. There. Early. We’re probably cheating a bit by saying this but we actually *have* been to Gates before and, all bias aside, their buttermilk donuts alone are worth the trip. Buttermilk disappointment aside, we were able to get two of the Gates Donut pièce de résistance–the maple bacon bar. This house special is a flaky maple Long John topped with a full slab of thick-sliced bacon, and it is a salty-sweet paradise. Bacon lovers rejoice for this one. Our general consensus of the entire smorgasbord is that 82 years of business is a pretty good indicator you’re not going to get a bad donut.

The “More”

We couldn’t exactly do “fizz” this week since this hometown joint is not exactly the type of place to serve trendy cocktails or artisan sodas. What they do have, however, are items that are not donuts. We ordered a plain sausage kolache and a jalapeno and cheese kolache. These kolaches were good, but we wouldn’t go farther than that. They’re not going to knock your socks off, but still–a solid kolache that will make for a solid, satisfying breakfast.

Then come their fried (!)  cinnamon rolls, available with or without a pecan topping. Those things are monstrous but even so, you may not want to share. To quench your thirst in the most breakfast-friendly way, they also have coffee, cappuccinos, and a variety of milk. Aside from these highlights, Gates Donuts also has the most adorable iced cookies to match every holiday, including Texas-shaped ones, and have the option for custom orders for parties or events!

Spot the tiny chef’s hat!

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Some donuts, including the fan favorite buttermilks, are only available on weekends.
  • Plan to take your goodies elsewhere. Gates Donut Shop is drive-thru only and there’s no outdoor seating available.
  • Favorites sell out quick! Gates donuts are made each day, which means that they’re always fresh and moist, but also that there’s only a limited number of each flavor available. If you’re after a specific type, go early.
The iconic Gates sign

When Should You Make Your Own Trip to Gates Donut Shop?

Early weekend mornings! If you’re in Corpus, that means you’re in easy driving distance of the beach, so our suggestion would be to go right when Gates opens (6 am), pick up a batch of your favorite donuts and a coffee or two, and head on out to the beach to enjoy the sunrise. It may be early, but those views and those flavors can’t be beat.

Are you from Corpus or a frequent beach-loving visitor? Comment your favorite restaurants in the Sparkling City by the Bay so we don’t miss a thing!