Duck Donuts' first migration to the Midwest

Photo illustration by Alyssa Young

With only 40 locations in the United States, 39 of which are located on the East Coast, Duck Donuts has expanded, opening its first Midwest donut shop right in the Westerville neighborhood. Duck Donuts is located next to 101 Beer Kitchen off Polaris Pkwy and had its grand opening on Dec. 16.

Duck Donuts employees work on making the personalized donuts. Photo credit by Alyssa Young

It all started in 2003 when Russell DiGilio vacationed to the Outer Banks with his family and realized that something was missing: there was no fresh donut place nearby. This was the small beginning of the soon- to-be popular donut shop that got its charming name from the seaside town of Duck, NC.

“Duck Donuts has widely expanded since its first opening and now there are over 40 locations,” Polaris location manager Darren Shuttler said.

So why Columbus? Due to the high percentage of Ohioans who vacation in the Outer Banks, Duck Donuts decided to franchise a location in Lewis Center. A big portion of its fan base stems from he Buckeye State, and Columbus is one of the company’s top three followers on Facebook.

“I was extremely excited when I found out Duck Donuts was coming here. When I was younger, my family and I used to go on vacation to the Outer Banks and get Duck Donuts on the weekends,” junior Claire Holland said.

Duck Donuts is famous for their warm vanilla cake donut always made fresh to order. They have an immense variety of icings and toppings including vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, maple and many others. Their toppings consist of sprinkles, bacon, peanuts, coconut and Oreos. Alongside this, their drizzles are hot fudge, blackberry, raspberry and salted caramel. The options to create the perfect donut are seemingly endless!

“Other than our donuts, we offer a few breakfast sandwiches. However, I’m very proud of our coffee. It comes from a company called Red Diamond in Birmingham, Alabama,” Shuttler said. The process of creating a delicious and unique Duck Donut starts as soon as the customer walks in. When waiting in line to order, customers can observe the donut process as workers are frying, topping and boxing fresh donuts just behind the glass barriers.

“For first-time customers, ordering can be confusing so our cashiers should make you feel welcome and help with the ordering process,” Shuttler said.

After the customer has ordered their customized, one-of-a-kind donuts, the donut mix, which is always made on site, is poured into a hopper where the donuts are cut into the circular shape. The machine dispenses two donuts at a time, and the donuts rotate once in a cooling system where finally they get iced, topped and boxed.

At Duck Donuts, customers create their own donuts, with a variety of icings, toppings and drizzles to use. Photo credit by Alyssa Young

“My favorite position at Ducks is being a topper where I get to ice and top the hot donuts. We also have donut maker, cashier and back of the house,” employee, junior Natalie Sanchez said.

Duck Donuts also offers many specialty donuts to choose from if first- time customers are unsure of what combinations go well together. They are known for their maple bacon donut which consists of maple icing and salty bacon bits on top. Another fan favorite is the vanilla Oreo with hot fudge drizzle.

“There are many different combinations to choose from, but my all-time favorite is vanilla coating, Oreo topping with hot fudge drizzle,” Sanchez said.

So next time you have a craving for some donuts, make sure to stop by the new Duck Donuts “where the donuts are warm, delicious and made to order”.


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