Brownsline Donuts

40-year-old Toronto donut shop is now secretly a thriving Indian restaurant

A long-standing Toronto donut shop has been serving traditional breakfasts, Boston cream donuts and cups of coffee for some 40 years. Now, the shop's new owners have introduced a vast Indian menu in addition to these classic staples.

Brownsline Donut Shop has been a stalwart business in the Etobicoke area for years, first starting off as a Country Style and then transforming into an independent donut dealer.

But a new owner has brought something new into the mix, an extensive home-made Indian menu.

brownsline donutsThe Sidhu family, who acquired the shop a little over a year ago (alongside its regular diners) decided to shake up menu offerings with some homemade Indian dishes.

Decked out in splashy orange and purple paint, speckled tile floors and a bakery case stocked with fresh baked goods and pastries, Brown's Line isn't your typical donut shop.

Brownsline DonutsBesides classic lunch and breakfast options, diners will be happy to find chicken biriyani ($12.99), gulab jamun, various curries and hot roti.

Sukhjit Sidhu said the previous owners also had some Indian plates, but nothing as extensive as what the donut shop offers now. 

brownsline donutsHis mother has been cooking these dishes for years and can basically make them with her eyes closed - years of experience.

You can taste the decades of perfection in their best-selling dishes like the creamy butter chicken, freshly grilled roti and hefty servings of their chickpea, tofu and cauliflower curries.

Brownsline Donuts"This business mainly was a classic English breakfast, like a diner, we're trying to create some variety with the Indian food because there are lots of other communities that love Indian food as well," said Sukhjit.

For dishes on the dessert menu, Brown's Line also sells sugar syrup sweets gulab jamin, the brightly-orange spiral confectionary jalebi  and Indian halwa with raisins.

Brownsline DonutsOf course, Brownsline Donuts still offers up its classic items including eggs and bacon ($8.49), hamburger combos ($13.99), French toast ($7.99) and sandwiches.

Brownsline DonutsTheir namesake - the freshly-baked donuts come in over a dozen varieties including toasted coconut, maple dip, eclairs and fritters ($1.40 - $2.50). You can't go wrong with a cranberry lemon or a carrot muffin ($1.85) either.

brownsline donutsSidhu's father says the kitchen team is up baking every day around 2 a.m. with almost everything sold around 3 p.m.

"Everything is baked fresh here in the morning," he tells blogTO.

Brownsline DonutsAnything leftover when the shop closes is sold through Too Good To Go, an app that fights food waste by selling any remnants at a discounted price, something that is very important to the Sidhu family.

brownsline donutsMost of Brownsline's customers have been coming for decades and spend hours drinking coffee, reading the paper and chatting with friends - but as the family continues to advertise their Indian offerings, new customers stream through their doors, according to Sidhu. 

Brownsline Donuts"We're trying to bring the two cultures together," said Sidhu's father, who is very familiar with the donut shop, having passed by it many times as an airport limo driver.

Brownsline Donuts"There's lot of regular customers, they come and get their coffee and donut," says Sidhu while adding "now we are starting to get customers from a bit further away."

Brownsline DonutsBrownsline Donuts and Restaurant at 744 Brown's Line in Etobicoke. 

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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