We believe that a good donut shop is more about consistency than creativity. Gibson’s isn’t afraid to experiment, but most of its energy goes towards making sure that the predictable donut shop classics are just a little bit better than anywhere else. An unglazed cake donut, the plainest donut imaginable, is great here. Everything is made on the same equipment used since opening in 1967, and although ownership has changed, new proprietors and bakers have honored Gibson’s wishes to keep the store quality-focused and independent.
Some donuts shops require buyer vigilance. You might have to ask which are fresh, or what’s good today. At Gibson’s it’s all good and it all tastes fresh. Locals tell us that the best time to come is in the wee hours of the morning when the most donuts are piping hot and the crowds are at their most eccentric.
Both classics and specialty donuts are executed well, with the best of the box being the famous red velvet cake donut and the Oreo crusted raised glazed. These aren’t original twists on classics, but they are done uncommonly well, and don’t go overboard with the sugar. Although it is too sweet for us, we agree that the iced donut bejeweled with sprinkles is an experience worth trying once.
The most unusual variety are the World’s Fair Donuts, which are cake donuts with jagged edges and a spicy orange flavor in the batter. They capture the richness of an old fashioned in a new way. A trip here isn’t complete without trying one.
If we had to speak ill of Gibson’s, it would be to complain about its watery coffee — a fault not uncommon among donut shops.
Gibson’s is always open. Its location on the Eastern edge of Memphis inspires locals to make late-night donut runs. The shop also offers a spectacular display of roadside neon.