Donato’s Bakery

Every time I come to Thunder Bay or end up anywhere near Court and Bay Streets while I’m there, in the back of my mind I’m thinking about Donato’s. It’s like I’m cheating on whatever it is I’m doing, or whoever I’m with, because I’m silently making a critical and carefully measured decision between my personal triumvirate of delicious: cookies, cake, and pizza.

Donato’s is a place that knows they make a solid product and that you wanna eat it. The decor is spartan, there is nowhere to sit down, and there are giant racks of baking to impede your progress around the cramped storefront. The bread slicing machine is out in the open where it’s convenient to use, not necessarily pretty to look at. There are photos on the walls of the several generations of Italians who have been using traditional ingredients, techniques, and a wood fired brick oven to create PERFECTION.

The gist of their offerings:

  • cannoli
  • cheesecake
  • tarrali
  • PAH. (pie)
  • cinnamon buns (these suckers are usually the first thing you see and thus, purchase)
  • lemon and zucchini loaves
  • crostoli (any day of the year!)
  • cake: red velvet, lemon, double chocolate
  • butter tarts
  • danishes
  • squares
  • bread and buns


They carry pizza sauce and dough in the fridge if you want to try it at home, fail, and then wonder why you tried to convince yourself that was a good idea (“Look at me! I’m Donato’s!” *floury jazz hands*) You can walk in and order pizza by the slice (pepperoni only, because screw you and your choices they know it’s so good you don’t care), or you can order it with your choice of toppings (but pick up only, because screw you they know you would start your car in -30 degree weather and run red lights to get there…and because it’s Thunder Bay and that’s a thing there, you will).


This is the only bakery I have ever found that makes bread and buns that taste almost like my nonna’s. How can something so simple have so much flavour? It’s magic! I recommend having it with Italian cheeses and cured meats bought next door at Renco Foods or up the road at Maltese’s Grocery.

Service is friendly, courteous and personal, and ranges from laid back to brisk depending on how many patrons there are. Because Donato’s makes such good food, the staff could be total buttholes to you and you’d still show up, but instead they’re the kind of people that choose to be awesome. Brava!

Baking so perfect it’s like eating God. I recommend everything but particularly, the chocolate chip cookies. Bonus: They’re open overnight (bakers are night owls) which makes them the perfect post-bar-crawl or late night munchie pit stop.


 Donato’s Bakery is located at 161 Court Street South in Thunder Bay, Ontario.