Duck Donuts has arrived. Doughnuts in Houston have been popular for a while, so, what makes this doughnut any different than the rest? Based on a visit this morning, It’s the puppy-like excitement you feel that begins with ordering, watching the batter plopped in the fryer, getting it iced and topped and then delivered warm into your hands.
Crisp from the oil (they use soybean), the vanilla cake texture is a little less dense than your typical cake doughnut, more so “fluffy” on the inside because it’s so fresh. Allison Cunningham, franchisee of Duck Donuts, explained, “[the batter] has to bloom, everything is made quickly and to order, we make it in small batches and constantly refresh, if it’s not in the fryer within the time it needs to be, we throw it out.”
The ball’s in your court in terms of dressing your doughnut. Combined, there are more than 20 different icings, toppings and drizzles to choose from. If you want blueberry and marshmallow; you can have it. If you want peanut butter and bacon; you can have it. If you want extra doughnuts crammed as bookends to one of their signature breakfast doughnut sandwiches; they’ll do that too.
If the pressure is too great to create your own, Duck Donuts also offers signature and seasonal doughnuts; like the Boardwalk, which is glazed with Oreo crumbles, powdered sugar and vanilla drizzle. In addition, they offer doughnut breakfast sandwiches. Your choice of bacon or sausage comes with egg and cheese between two doughnuts and, no they didn’t, topped with maple glaze and chopped bacon. You could also a scoop of vanilla ice cream to turn your doughnut creation into a sundae.
Pending the line isn’t around the block, the process is relatively quick. It takes 120 seconds to fry the doughnut and then there are two to four staff members on hand to custom build. Each doughnut costs $1.50 no matter how many toppings you choose.
Duck Donuts originated in vacation town Duck, North Carolina. Founder Russ Digilio saw a need for “warm, fresh, made-to-order doughnuts.” Duck Donuts first opened its doors in 2007 and began franchising in 2013. In four quick years, they have expanded westward to 167 franchised locations. That’s more than 4,000 percent growth, which alone makes you think they’ve got to be doing something right.
“All our growth has been organic, we were constantly approached by customers asking us to franchise,” says Digilio. Houston will be the first location in Texas with San Antonio and Dallas also set to open in 2018. Digilio remarked on the glue for consistency from location to location, “[we] put a strong emphasis on training, follow-up programs, and ongoing communication. Our franchising company is very involved before, during and after a store is opened. Our No. 1 mission is not to open new stores but to support the ones we have.”
Houston store owners Allison and Pete Cunningham reached out to Digilio about franchising after eating at a Duck Donuts on vacation. She recalls, “It was our day to do breakfast, we found Duck Donuts, left the store, and within 30 minutes five dozen doughnuts were gone at the house…we started looking into [franchising] before we left for the airport.”
Duck Donuts is located at 3157 West Holcombe and is open Monday to Wednesday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday to Sunday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. *This weekend hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.