New west Lawrence doughnut shop features made-to-order menu

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

All the doughnuts at Humble Donut Co. are bite-size versions, and the menu features about 20 frosting and topping possibilities.

Maybe you too have learned what a snow day during holiday baking season is good for: about 20 pounds. Doughnuts, though, weren’t on my list of treats I was making and eating, but, of course, I didn’t have the benefit of a doughnut-making robot. A new west Lawrence doughnut shop, however, does.

Humble Donut Co. recently has opened inside the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt shop near Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. The shop does doughnuts differently on two fronts. First, the only doughnuts offered are the mini versions. Second, every doughnut is fried right in front of you, usually in about 20 seconds.

“They call it a doughnut robot machine,” co-owner Karlye Atwood said of the device that produces the doughnuts in short order. The machine is loaded with dough, and its conveyor belt drops the doughnuts in the oil, while another device turns them over. In less than half a minute, the doughnuts are ready for the staff to top with a variety of glazes, frostings or other toppings.

“The fun flavor combinations really add to it,” Atwood said.

The menu features about 20 flavors. There are classic offerings such as glazed, powdered sugar and chocolate iced. But some of the most popular offerings have been more exotic, Karlye said.

For instance, there is a French toast version, which comes with maple icing and cinnamon sugar, a caramel glaze and a piece of French toast-flavored cereal on top. Other notable combinations include a maple glazed doughnut with bacon bits; a s’mores version with chocolate icing, graham cracker crumbles, chocolate chips and a marshmallow drizzle; and a candy bar version, which is simply a chocolate frosted doughnut topped with the candy of the day.

Karlye said she thought the smaller size added to the doughnuts’ appeal. She and her husband, Kevin, who also is a co-owner of the store, both picked up on that aspect when they traveled to Oklahoma City to study the concept at a Humble Donut Co. shop there.

She said the mini doughnuts made sampling different doughnut flavors much easier. She said with regular doughnuts, her family always would end up buying a box of different flavors, then cutting them into bite-size pieces anyway. Humble sells its doughnuts with a minimum purchase of three doughnuts — which approximates the amount of dough in one normal doughnut. Customers can get three different flavors of doughnuts if they want to.

“We kind of encourage that,” she said. “We want people to try a lot of different flavors.”

The shop also sells doughnuts by the dozen for people wanting to take them into the office or to a party. But Karlye said lots of people do want to try them as they come out of the fryer.

“You can’t beat a hot carb,” she said.

The shop, though, likes cold foods too. The Atwoods own the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt franchise in Lawrence. The doughnut shop shares space with the frozen yogurt offerings. Humble Donut Co. actually was developed by Orange Leaf executives. Not every Orange Leaf, though, is adding the doughnut shop to its business. The Lawrence location is the first in Kansas, Karlye said. She said they decided to add the doughnut shop because they thought it would be a hit with their location. The shop, 4801 Bauer Farm Drive, is basically across the street from Free State High School.

“We definitely have a lot of students come by after class,” she said. “We have some come on their lunch break. It maybe isn’t the healthiest lunch, but they like it.”

She said west Lawrence offices also have been good doughnut customers.

The yogurt shop did have to change its hours to accommodate the doughnut business. It used to open at 11 a.m., but it now opens at 8 a.m.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Karlye Atwood, who is a co-owner of both Lawrence’s Humble Donut Co. and Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, said the doughnut concept has broaden the store’s customer base.


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