The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Introducing Duck Donuts


Many folks who vacation on the Outer Banks look forward all year long to a breakfast of freshly made Duck Donuts.  As of next March, they will have to wait no more.  That’s when Duck Donuts plans to open in Charlottesville at the Shops at Stonefield.  Rebecca Johnson, who owns the new Duck Donuts with her husband David, provides the scoop below.  You can follow their progress on Facebook.

1) What is the background of Duck Donuts, and what made you interested in running a donut shop?

Rebecca:  Duck Donuts originates in Duck, NC. The company was started by two gentlemen that regularly vacationed there and noticed the area was missing a good donut shop. They opened the first store and business took off so they opened two more in the Outer Banks. We found Duck Donuts when we visited the Duck location and enjoyed our first donut. We approached the owners that day about franchising and a few weeks later they called and welcomed us to be the first franchisees . . .

My husband and I are actually mortgage people. He works for a wholesale lender and I am a mortgage broker. We began looking for a franchise to buy into about two years ago and when we found Duck Donuts we knew that we had found IT. We both have backgrounds in management & food (David once owned a Greek restaurant) so the donut shop was a natural fit for us. Plus, who doesn’t love a warm donut? The overall nature of the business is pretty simple and most importantly, people LOVE our donuts.

2) What makes Duck Donuts unique?

Duck Donuts are unique for a couple of reasons, but primarily it is the production process. When you come into our store and order a maple bacon donut, we make it from scratch and serve it to you warm, every time. The whole process is visible to our customers which most of them find interesting to watch. We also make our icings in the store – the lemon and orange icing are made from real lemons and oranges. All of our donuts are vanilla cake style donuts with the exception of a pumpkin donut that we are offering through the holidays.

In addition to warm donuts, we offer breakfast sandwiches (bacon/egg/cheese or sausage/egg/cheese) served on a bagel or English muffin along with fresh made muffins and excellent coffee & espresso. For an additional treat, we offer donut sundaes.

3) What are your personal favorite donuts at Duck Donuts?

Hmm. I LOVE the French Toast donut (maple icing with cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar sprinkled on top). I also LOVE the lemon iced donut with some coconut sprinkled on top. The cinnamon sugar with some icing drizzled across it is FABULOUS and the powdered sugar donut is just a classic. Maple Bacon is our best seller to the public though.

4) How did you choose Charlottesville as a location?

Rebecca:  When David graduated college (UNC) he actually moved to Ruckersville with his first job. Over the past few years we have vacationed here a lot. I am a horse lover and this is horse country so it feels like a natural fit for our family. We love the mountains and the people have been so friendly. Charlottesville is also a foodie town and we love good food so it just feels like home.

5) Do you have a planned opening date?

We are looking to open in March 2015.

Five Finds on Friday: Kristen Suokko

Kristen Suokko

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  As we head into Thanksgiving week, today’s picks come from Kristen Suokko, Executive Director of Local Food Hub, the nonprofit devoted to our local food system that works with seventy small farms to distribute fresh produce and meats to schools, hospitals, retailers, restaurants, food banks, and more.  Suokko’s picks:

1)  Salad Bar at Blue Ridge Country Store.  “In fact, anything fresh and quick will do. Their salad bar and soups are the perfect grab-and-go lunch option, and I often stop by mid-afternoon to pick up fresh produce to cook for dinner that evening.”

2)  Prosciutto Panini Special at Feast!. S. Wallace Edwards prosciutto, pickled red onions, local apples, and Caromont Farm goat cheese on focaccia.  “Their specials change daily based on what is available from local farmers, and they never cease to have something spectacular.  My kids love The Elvis, made with Virginia peanut butter, candied bacon, and bananas on oatmeal crunch bread.”

3)  Double H Farm Pork Chop with Local Apple Cider Glaze and Delicata Squash at Hamiltons’ at First and Main.  “Chef Curtis Shaver is able to bring out the best flavors of every season, and does an excellent job at using the best of what is available in our area.”

4)  Winter Quiche at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery, with local bacon, eggs, and vegetables.  “Whenever I’m hiking in western Albemarle, or visiting some of our many vineyards or breweries, I always stop by Greenwood Gourmet Grocery in Crozet for a bite. All of their café food is prepared in-house daily. Their offerings are complex yet always remain true to the flavors of our region, like a fresh summer slaw made with cabbage, carrots, peppers, and onions, or the warm winter quiche. And, I never skip on dessert here, especially their homemade pies!”

5)  Winesap Apples from Dickie Brothers Orchard. “Local Food Hub works with a handful of orchardists in our area, all of whom have introduced us to unique and rare varieties over the years, like the tart Gold Rush, the sweet Pink Lady, the firm red-skinned Jonathan, and more.  Just last night, at our food awards and 5th birthday celebration, Dickie Brothers Orchard won our award for 2014 Partner Producer of the Year, Fruit.  You can pick up a local apple just about anywhere: Integral Yoga, Rebecca’s Natural Foods, paired with a hearty soup from Revolutionary Soup, or fresh from the Charlottesville City Market, just to name a few.”