Gummy worms, Oreo cookies, Twix bars, marshmallows and a blow torch may not seem like breakfast necessities, but at Donut King in Weymouth they’re what make up more than a dozen specialty treats that have pulled the business back from the brink since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
WEYMOUTH — Gummy worms, Oreo cookies, Twix bars, marshmallows and a blow torch may not seem like breakfast necessities, but at Donut King in Weymouth they’re what make up more than a dozen specialty treats that have pulled the business back from the brink since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since March, the 33-year-old doughnut and coffee shop has gone all in on creative breakfast pastries that have drawn hundreds of new customers to taste the Pumpkin Patch, a frosted chocolate with Oreo, a gummy worm and a rice treat; the crème brûlée, stuffed with vanilla cream and torched; the Salted Carmel Trio, topped with pretzel, Twiz and Heath; and a dozen other varieties. The new recipes, along with a top-notch social media strategy developed by Jennifer Ty, has given new life to the family-owned business.
“She had this idea, she posted online and all the sudden the customers come in,” Sin Ty, co-owner of Donut King and Jennifer’s dad, said. “Before, people didn’t know where Donut King was but now we have lines down to the corner on Saturday and Sunday.”
Donut King first opened its doors in 1987 after Sin Ty immigrated to the United States and started the business with his wife Denise. Despite a engineering degree from Boston University, Sin Ty said he went into the restaurant business to start a company that could involve the whole family and, ultimately, be passed down.
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In the decades since, the kitchen has filled with his three children, nieces, nephews and family friends who make fresh breakfast, more than 40 variety of doughnuts and pastries. The shop is open from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and bakers work overnight to hand make all of Donut King’s offerings. At the start, it was Sin Ty himself who stayed in lawn chairs at the shop all night to make sure offerings were ready by the time the doors opened.
“We’re all handmade — we don’t use machines. We make, roll, dip and decorate all by hand, and the same is true of our pastries,” Jennifer Ty said. “The quality of our doughnuts stands out.”
While Donut King never closed due to the pandemic, Jennifer Ty said business dipped, which encouraged her to look for ways to bring in more customers.
“In quarantine I had a lot of time to reflect and think about the business,” she said. “I’m a foodie myself, I’ve been to a lot of doughnut shops and people get so creative, so I thought this way maybe something we could benefit from as well. It has brought people in from all over and for my parents to see people they’ve never seen in their 30 years here, that’s a big deal.”
Ty and the shop’s pastry chef Joanna Whiteley of Weymouth have come up with 16 specialty doughnuts to add to their usual 30 flavors. The specialty treats are served on Saturdays and Sundays, and between 80 and 90 dozen sell each weekend day. The most popular flavors are Boston cream, cannoli-filled, strawberries and cream and pumpkin cream cheese.
On a recent Sunday morning, a line out the door had formed by 8:30 a.m. Mike Lynch of Weymouth waited 15 minutes before he was able to order, but said he didn’t mind.
“My dad has been coming here for years and I just started coming with him,” Lynch, who ordered pumpkin, blueberry pancake and honey-dipped doughnuts, said. “They make great donuts and I like their coffee, too. It’s great prices and the different types of donuts they come up with each week are really cool.”
Reach Mary Whitfill at [email protected]