Daylight Donuts

Daylight Donuts - Early Morning Donut Spot Near Lihue Airport
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Located less than two miles from the Lihue airport, Daylight Donuts Lihue is a popular Kauai coffee and donut shop. So popular in fact, that they frequently run out of donuts well before their close. This is a place you're going to want to go extra early if you want to enjoy the famously light and fluffy pastries from the Daylight Donuts branded chain. 

- The Local Expert Team

Daylight Donuts is a small but popular little donut shop that is tucked within a Lihue strip mall. This is a great place for an early morning sugar rush before you head out for your day’s adventures.

You will find Daylight Donuts on the side road of Rice Street, within a small shopping plaza opposite Kauai Ace Hardware & Crafts. The strip mall is painted a soft seafoam green, making it so the bright yellow sign proclaiming “Daylight Donuts” is readily seen from the road. This location also happens to be just 1.5 miles away from the Lihue Airport, making it likewise a great spot for those needing a sip of coffee and sugar pick-me-up before an early flight out, or after an early one in. 

The interior of Daylight Donuts Lihue is bright and airy if a little compact. You will find a few tables and chairs near the front windows of the shop while the back area is reserved for displays of all the day’s available donuts. Most customers come in to get their donuts to go. All donuts available for sale will be on display, there are no made-to-order menu items here. 

The name of Daylight Donuts is apt because if you get there too long after daybreak, they will be out of their most popular flavors. This Lihue donut shop might be open between 6 and 11 am but the latest you will want to arrive is 9 am. Note that they are not open Saturday through Monday. Yes, their open times are really that limited, and they really do sell out of donuts that fast! That fact alone might just tell you just how delicious and satisfying the ringed pastries from Daylight Donuts are!

This is not the only Daylight Donuts store in the country (or in fact the world). Daylight Donuts is a privately owned and operated chain of breakfast shops that was first founded by Tommy and Lucille Day in 1954. The couple quite literally started out of the trunk of their car by driving around Tulsa, Oklahoma, and selling their unique light donut mix and creations to larger stores. That homemade mix was a big hit and by the time the Days sold their company in 1977, there were over 200 Daylight Donuts shops across the country. Today, there are about 950 Daylight Donuts across 13 countries, each one independently owned and operated but all creating delicious breakfast treats with that signature, time-tested Day batter. Including this Lihue location.

Of course, while the Lihue Daylight Donuts store utilizes the branded donut recipe and coffee, they also have their own popular specials on a few of the flavors, including:

Mochi Donuts
Mochi Donuts are Japanese-American hybrid pastry that nicely reflects the culture of Hawaii itself. This type of donut has a light, bouncy and chewy flavor due to its use of tapioca flour versus traditional flour.

Maple Bacon Donuts
Another popular menu item here is the Maple Bacon donut. This is a large donut that comes more as a loaf shape and is equal parts salty and sweet. Given that kalua pork is a popular luau item, these Maple Bacon Donuts are a great good morning Kauai breakfast item. 

Insider Tips:
-If you happen to be traveling or otherwise staying in Kauai during the first week of June, make sure to stop by Daylight Donuts on National Donut Day. National Donut Day takes place on the first Friday of June every year and has done so since 1938 when the holiday was created by Chicago’s Salvation Army to honor those volunteers who served donuts to soldiers during World War I. Daylight Donuts, as with other bakeries, offers free donuts on this day in celebration and remembrance. 
-There is a credit card minimum of $10 here. So make sure to bring cash if you’re looking just to drop in for one or two donuts.