ORANGE VILLAGE, Ohio – We wait for sandwiches and salads to be built to order. We value freshness in restaurants. So why not apply those values to doughnuts?
Krista Sparks, her husband Brad Hobbs and brother-in-law Darren Shutler have opened Duck Donuts in the Pinecrest development in Orange Village. It’s the chain’s first location in Northeast Ohio. The quaint shop is not your typical race-to-the-counter-and-choose-your-doughnuts-then-bolt place.
Duck Donuts requires customers to make three choices: A coating, topping and drizzle.
Then you watch as your creations are dipped in batter, cooked in oil, rolled out, cooled off, and topped off. The entire made-from-scratch process takes five to seven minutes, Sparks said.
The shop – at 1,400 square feet – is the 74th Duck Donuts franchise, she said. The beach-vibe locations are heavy along the Atlantic Seaboard.
Russ DiGilio founded the company in 2006 in Duck, North Carolina. Sparks and her family discovered it on a trip.
“People were so excited to be there,” she said of her first encounter. “We tried the doughnuts; they were the best doughnuts we had ever had.”
So they opened shops in Westerville in 2016 and Dublin in 2017 before looking to Northeast Ohio.
Pinecrest is a perfect fit because the lifestyle-shopping-retail-entertainment complex is “more of an experience place,” she said, citing bowling/bocce at Pinstripes, Color Me Mine pottery-painting studio, among others.
“Every time you come in you’ll get a warm, freshly made-to-order doughnut,” Sparks said.
The preparation involves using precise temperatures for the dough to yield flavor and texture consistency. The process – from cooking to coating – is transparent; kids can appreciate the culinary assembly line by climbing on the viewing step and peering at the workers.
“Their faces just light up watching the doughnuts being made,” Sparks said.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “It’s different from other doughnut shops. … You’re not going to pick a doughnut off the shelf (at Duck Donuts). Each time you get a warm fresh doughnut.”
For the record, a maple coating with bacon is the shop’s most popular. Seasonal toppings are coming.
“You can bring a really festive dozen doughnuts to your holiday party,” Sparks said.
About Duck Donuts
The shop is open seven days. Hours: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Prices: $1.85 (single), $8.95 (half-dozen), $15.95 (dozen). Free parking is in the adjacent lot or garage.