Cresent Donut

Owner Peter Sharpe and a baker’s dozen of his classic doughnuts. Photo by Darryl Smith


After 53 years, Bloomington’s mom-and-pop shop, Cresent Donut, is defined as much by what it doesn’t do as what it does.

“Doughnuts, coffee, milk, and juice, and that’s it,” explains Peter Sharpe, owner of Cresent Donut (231 S. Adams St.) since 2002 and the fourth owner in the shop’s history.

So selling doughnuts is what Cresent Donut does. That’s simple. Here’s what it doesn’t do:

Close. Staying open 24/7 allows Sharpe to continue selling the day’s doughnuts into the wee hours of the night, giving sweet-toothed night owls a place to grab a snack. And, yes, stereotypes and jokes notwithstanding, late-shift law enforcement officers are regular patrons. Doughnuts are made fresh every day by bakers who start prepping before sunrise. Sharpe doesn’t even have a freezer in the kitchen, so he sends any of the day’s extras to Shalom Community Center or Backstreet Missions.

Mess around. It’s wheat flour, salt, sugar, and yeast for glazed doughnuts with the addition of baking soda for the cake variety. No maple bacon doughnuts. No cronuts [a croissant-doughnut hybrid]. Just lots of classic doughnuts — up to 250 dozen on any given weekend. A full third are glistening glazed. The filled bismark — which customers might know as the Boston cream or longjohn — is the second most popular doughnut after glazed. All told, yeast varieties outnumber cake by a ratio of 10 to1.

Expand the menu. “I’ve been in some doughnut shops and couldn’t even find the doughnuts,” says Sharpe. Cresent keeps it simple: a doughnut counter, a coffee maker, and a cooler for milk. However, as construction of the neighboring student housing complex, The Collegiate on Patterson, nears completion, Sharpe is toying with the idea of making a few extra varieties of coffee, a big change for the small shop.

Compromise. There’s no corporate-dictated conformity to be found here. No strained, perky chitchat. And if a patron ignores the “no cellphones” sign on the door, Sharpe is okay with simply serving the next person in line.

Spell. “The original owner was a better baker than he was a speller,” Sharpe says with a grin. The name of the shop refers to the crescent-shaped doughnut made by the original owner. Sharpe doesn’t make them any longer, but there are no plans to change the spelling of the name.