As a second-generation bakery owner, Luke Pothan knows the secret to doughnut success:
Keep it simple, no gimmicks.
Focus on customer service.
Open before the birds sing.
He’ll open his new bakery, Luke’s Donuts, in South Hill at 12314 Meridian E., in the former home of Epic Donuts.
He’ll just barely miss National Doughnut Day — always the first Friday in June — but expect him to be baking maple bars and raised doughnuts in the next several days.
And, in the meantime, 13 local bakeries will be at the ready to supply your doughnuts for the annual holiday that I like to call Wear Your Stretchy Pants Friday. See the bakery list below.
Pothan learned the business from people who know a thing or two about maple bars and cake doughnuts.
His father is Steve Pothan, who opened Helen’s Donuts and Ice Cream about six years ago on Portland Avenue East in Tacoma. The bakery is named after Steve’s wife, Helen Pothan. Luke grew up helping his father run the bakery.
Like his father’s bakery, Luke Pothan’s shop will specialize in classic doughnuts, scooped ice cream, fruit smoothies and espresso. The selection will include a wide range of the classics, including cake, raised, bar, filled, frosted and the family’s specialty, fritters. Luke’s will carry at least three flavors of fritters daily.
Pothan said the footprint will be much like Epic Donuts, which was a walk-in bakery with no seating (benches are outside).
“We’re trying to relate to that old school doughnut experience,” he said about his low-tech bakery and appliances. “We have an old school case and we repurposed it. We have an old school espresso machine, an old coffee grinder, an old school milk fridge.”
He’ll start with two styles of roasted coffees. He’ll stick with the one customers say they like best. He’ll offer a full espresso menu, plus blended fruit puree smoothies.
Luke’s will open at 5 a.m. daily to pick up morning commuter business. He’ll close about 6:30 p.m.
He’ll operate the bakery with his girlfriend, Siva Hope.
Freebie doughnut tip: Check out Original House of Donuts on Friday for free doughnuts for National Doughnut Day. The first 1,000 customers will get a free doughnut, so long as that doughnut has a hole in it. See locations below.
New bakery tip: Construction is picking up at the Top Pot in Proctor. Workers have installed a sign and moved in furniture. I don’t have an opening date, but I’m keeping an eye on the building. Top Pot is a Seattle-based doughnut bakery founded by brothers who grew up in Lakewood. Also, Legendary Doughnuts is working on opening an outpost in Orting.
Build your own tour: If you’re slightly deranged or a professional food writer, you’ll spend Friday touring Pierce County’s locally owned doughnut bakeries. Here’s a list of all 14:
Connie’s Donuts and Espresso: 4065 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-474-5059. Try the jelly filled krispie bars.
Dockside Donuts: 1112 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma; 253-572-9638, facebook.com/DocksideDonutsTacoma. Try the coconut cream filled angel bar.
Helen’s Donuts and Ice Cream: 5601 Portland Ave. E., Tacoma; 253-472-6491, bit.ly/2kNL7jg. Try the maple-bacon bar.
Le Donut: 1317 S. 11th St., Tacoma; 253-627-5877, facebook.com/ledonuttacoma. Try the cinnamon pinwheel.
Legendary Doughnuts: 2602 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-327-1327, legendarydoughnuts.com (also in Lake Tapps and Frederickson). Try the doughsant, a croissant doughnut hybrid.
Pao's Donuts and Coffee Shop: 6919 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-565-4692, bit.ly/2qyM4PJ. Cash only. Try the apple fritter.
Yummies Donuts and Ice Cream: 8042 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-448-2142, facebook.com/yummiesdonuts. Try the raised and glazed doughnut.
Frank’s Donuts and Muffins: 14117 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-535-4699. Try the Danish.
Kolby’s Donut House: 15012 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-537-2089 or facebook.com/KolbysDonutHouse. Try the peanut butter and jelly doughnut.
Original House of Donuts: 9638 Gravelly Lake Drive SW, Lakewood; 253-588-2647, thehouseofdonuts.com (also in downtown Tacoma). Try the Red velvet cake doughnut.
Westernco Donut: 9312 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-584-0109. Cash only. Try a filled doughnut.
Happy Donuts: 305 Second St. NE, Puyallup; 253-840-9398. Try the bear claw.
Luke’s Donuts: 12314 Meridian E., Puyallup; 253-770-4996; facebook.com/LukesDonuts. Opening Friday, if all goes as planned.
Sunny’s Donuts: 4500 Pacific Hwy E., Fife; 253-922-5209. Try the empa-naughties.