The future of donut shops

All across America, donut shops are flourishing.

“The only thing that slows us down is when people can’t get here because of the weather,” said Bob Kenny, owner of Doughboy Donuts, which has two locations in Reno, Nevada.

Russ DiGilio, founder and owner of Duck Donuts Franchising Company L.L.C., recently announced the expansion of his donut franchise to the college town of Knoxville, Tenn. The Knoxville location is the first of several franchises slated to open in the Volunteer State.

The Knoxville store opened in January, offering “warm, delicious and made-to-order” donuts,” inside a 1,200-square foot Duck Donuts store. There is indoor and outdoor seating with the franchise’s iconic beach theme, and a family-friendly atmosphere.

“We are thrilled to kick off our venture in Knoxville and bring the Duck Donuts experience to college students, residents, visitors, and donut lovers,” said Baker Bell, one of the franchise owners. “The Knoxville business community has welcomed us with open arms, and we are excited to support them with our Chamber membership and community investments.”

In Kansas, longtime downtown restaurant owner Nick Wysong is leading a group that will open Wake the Dead: Chicken, Whiskey, Donuts in downtown Lawrence, Kas., a college town and home of the University of Kansas. Mr. Wysong is the co-founder and owner of the popular downtown restaurant Ingredient and also the former owner of Harolds Fried Chicken & Donuts. That was the short-lived restaurant that operated out of the Miller Mart gas station in Lawrence. Mr. Wysong told the Lawrence Journal-World that the concept of fried chicken served with a donut developed a bit of a cult following during the year that Harolds was open.

Mr. Wysong said his new restaurant will be a fully functioning donut shop, as well as offer a large selection of “top shelf whiskeys.” It also, obviously, will have evening hours. He expects to try about 60 donut recipes, although he plans to start with about a dozen varieties available daily.

“We’re going to do this right and do it well,” Mr. Wysong told the Journal-World. “But the donut element is going to be huge. We’re super stoked about that.”

In Oklahoma, Belle Kitchen recently landed on Travel Channel’s list of the “Best Doughnut Shops in America.” The Oklahoma City-based bakery, which recently expanded into the Deep Deuce area in Oklahoma City, has been creating their highly acclaimed fresh, square donuts by hand for just over a year.




“Fresh, beautiful and huge best describes our donuts,” said Cheryl Davenport, the founder of Belle Kitchen. “We use only the very best ingredients. Our dough takes about 24 hours to produce and results in a light and fluffy donut that is perfectly complemented with fresh, seasonal, super flavorful glazes like roasted strawberry lime, vegan hibiscus, bacon maple, gluten-free mixed berry and black cocoa powder old fashioned donuts.”

Originally from Canada and then Seattle, Ms. Davenport saw a need in the marketplace and developed the idea for gourmet donuts in Oklahoma City. She took months to perfect the recipe and built two locations to serve her Oklahoma customers.

“Having worked for Microsoft and Hitachi taught me that innovation and creation are cornerstones of great ideas, but owning a small business marketing agency taught me about the importance of the customer,” she said. “We want our customers to be to delighted with their visit, finding new and beautiful treats as well as their favorites in the case.”

In Chicago, owners Jonathan and Karen Fox started the now popular Firecakes Donuts, available at three locations in Chicago, to give customers “the same exhilarating sensory experience that people used to get at the traditional neighborhood donut shop.”

Chef Jonathan Fox said, “We use the best traditional donut recipes and apply sophisticated techniques to produce layers of flavor that take our donuts to another level. For example, we don’t just roll our coconut donuts in shredded coconut. Rather, we roll them in three different kinds of coconut, each with a different texture, making the experience much more interesting and tasty.”