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April: Closer Look

elliana's donuts in columbia missouri

This month, we take a look at three of Columbia’s businesses – Ellianna’s Donut Shop, Hitea, and Casa Maria’s Mexican Cantina.

Ellianna’s Donut Shop

Business is sweet for Columbia’s newest breakfast go-to, Ellianna’s Donut Shop. Located off of Grindstone Parkway since early October, they’ve been known to sell out on the weekends. 

“We’ve had a lot of good reviews, a lot of positive things from our customers,” says Tola Mam, owner of the shop. “We hope that they love our donuts.”

Ellianna’s offers both a drive-thru and an open lobby so customers can get their sugar fix in the most convenient way possible. The drive-thru, according to Mam, is extremely popular. 

Indecisive? That’s no problem. Just get an assorted box and try every type that catches your eye. They offer more than a dozen types of donuts, and the selection changes from day to day. Try their strawberry split donut with cream and jam layered between pastry and sprinkled with powdered sugar, or their unicorn donut topped with a gold fondant horn and sprinkles. 

There’s also nothing wrong with getting a plain glazed donut at Ellianna’s. In fact, it’s their most popular donut. Just make sure to wake up early on the weekends!

(573) 777-0442
1105 Grindstone Pkwy.
Facebook: Ellianna’s Donut Shop


The craze for boba has been taking Columbia by storm, and Hitea, the newest tea shop in town, is ready to join in. 

Located downtown just steps away from Stephens College, Hitea and owner Yioi Cheng have been dedicated to making a more traditional type of boba for customers ever since the business opened up early last fall. Boba, or bubble tea, is milk tea with tapioca pearls that comes in almost any flavor and temperature you can think of. More traditional boba, like the kind Yioi offers, comes with a black tea base. 

“Our product is more traditional, which is why I think we can compete with the other tea shops in town,” Yioi says. Hitea is his first ever restaurant, which came about after nearly a year of planning. 

Hitea offers a variety of different drinks, from boba to more traditional tea to smoothies. Many customers seem to prefer the brown sugar boba, according to Yioi but his favorite remains the passion fruit oolong tea. 

(573) 507-6380
16 N 10th 101
Columbia, MO 65203

Casa Maria’s Mexican Cantina

Born of self-proclaimed “foodies,” Casa Maria’s Mexican Cantina is a passion project for owner Crystal Umfress and her boyfriend, head chef Jesus Mendoza. After years in the Columbia food scene, they’ve opened a restaurant devoted to good food and excellent flavor just off of Grindstone Parkway. 

After opening in late February, the restaurant has boasted incredible turnout. Customers can order on most food delivery apps or call ahead to be placed on a waitlist if they’d prefer to dine in. 

“We just want to provide a unique dining experience, set apart from all of the other Mexican restaurants in town,” Umfress says. “Jesus really wanted to create a menu that was truly his, and he wanted to get creative with spices and colors.”

The menu’s most popular options include a seafood stuffed poblano pepper or their fiesta bowl, which features shredded barbacoa, cilantro lime rice, and pico de gallo. Of course, a meal at Casa Maria’s wouldn’t be complete without a margarita. Umfress has a personal favorite, the blueberry margarita made with fresh fruit puree. 

“The food is amazing,” Umfress says. “It’s handcrafted with a special touch.”

(573) 777-5505
305 Grindstone PKWY. #115

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