A chain that started on the Outer Banks and has a loyal following has opened in Roanoke County: “Duck Donuts” makes cake-style, custom donuts from scratch with a variety of toppings that can then be added.
The new Duck Donuts crew warmed up by starting work in the wee hours of the morning and making almost 4000 custom donuts ahead of opening day. The doors opened in early March at the Promenade Park location in Southwest Roanoke County along Electric Road at Colonial Avenue.
A Grand Opening and ribbon cutting is also scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 – with a portion of the proceeds going to CHIP of Roanoke Valley. The celebration that day includes face painters and balloon animals for the kids. A local company will make ID cards for children and take their fingerprints for a database designed around keeping them safe.
Emma Phares is the co-owner with her husband. “I love donuts and was really tired of traveling all the way to the Outer Banks to get them. Me and my husband thought it was a great idea to invest in something locally and give back to our community.”
There are now 54 Duck Donuts franchises. The first weekend for the Roanoke County outlet was a busy one with long waits at times. Plans are in the works for more than 100 locations. “They are all over the East Coast now,” noted Phares, a nurse by trade, who will continue to work in that profession as well.
There are no premade racks of donuts when you come in; every cake style donut (no jelly filled options) are custom made with a wide variety of toppings upon request. A machine filled with dough pushes out raw donuts which go via a conveyor belt to a fryer. After cooling for a bit they are crafted to order.
“It’s fresh when you come in the door,” says Phares, “we don’t have anywhere to even put the donut other than in your hands. They’re a fantastic cake donut.”
People can watch their donuts being made, then topped “right there in front of them.” As for a signature donut, Phares is quick to point out the maple bacon option. “It is delicious.”
Duck Donuts also features gourmet coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Take out or eat there, with outside seating planned when the weather warms up. You can also purchase very small rubber ducks in a variety of styles – another Duck Donuts signature.