It's good that Russ DiGilio, the creator of a fast-growing doughnut shop, has a sense of humor.
He's the founder and CEO of a company with "a tremendous fanbase, all over doughnuts," he says, laughing. DiGilio spent 30 years in healthcare and planned to end his career doing just that. But that sense of humor gets serious: Duck Donuts has blossomed into 70 shops, with 215 total stores expected to open across the country eventually.
"I still scratch my head over it sometimes," he says.
Duck Donuts is expected to land in North Texas in late fall 2018 with a splash, first in Addison and with plans for expansion to two more Dallas-area stores. It's a made-to-order doughnut shop where every step happens in front of the customer, starting with a single option: a vanilla cake doughnut.
"You watch us mix the batter, drop it in to the fryers," the CEO says. Customers can press their noses against the Plexiglass (or, y'know, get close) and choose a coating (like cinnamon sugar, glazed, chocolate, peanut butter and more); a topping (sprinkles, chopped peanuts, shredded coconut, or bacon pieces, casual); and a drizzle (hot fudge, marshmallow, salted caramel and more).
The Addison shop will be located near Belt Line Road and Marsh Lane. When it opens, PR manager Kristin Kellum says patrons can possibly expect "a line, out the door, all day," if other openings are an indicator.
The company was created because DiGilio and his family members were vacationing in North Carolina and lamenting the lack of a great doughnut shop. "I've always been a bit of an entrepreneur," he says, and "I thought, You know what? For fun, let's try to figure this out and make something of it."
The first stores opened in 2007, and at first, they struggled, he says. The company is named for Duck, North Carolina, a small town in the Outer Banks where the DiGilios take vacations. The regulars were around only seasonally, and it took a few years for Duck to establish a name. Once it did, however, the company turned into a franchise in 2013.
That first franchise, in Williamsburg, Virginia, drew "a lot of fanfare and TVs," DiGilio says. "It was craziness, over a doughnut shop."
While 90 percent of the customers buy doughnuts, the company also sells coffee.
And customers who are #extra can consider two seriously stacked doughnut options: a doughnut breakfast sandwich, made with egg, bacon or sausage and cheese; and a doughnut sundae. Because who's counting calories anyhow?
Duck Donuts is expected to open at 3765 Belt Line Road, Addison, in late fall 2018.