Published Oct. 8, 2021
BY SOPHIA BONE
Instantly hit with the sweet smell of freshly made doughnuts, walking into Dutch Door Donuts, which officially opened in Carmel Plaza on Sept. 3, is a dream. With only six types of carefully crafted doughnuts sold at a time, the care put into them can be found when taking the first bite.
“It’s the promise of a doughnut fulfilled,” explains chef Tucker Bunch.
While Bunch runs the kitchen, everything on the “other side of the wall,” from the social media to the overall management, is overseen by co-owner Chris Whitman. The store also was financed by local investor Calvin Schlenker and all three doughnut enthusiasts have daughters who attend high schools in the area, which is why they want to carry that local feel with their customers.
“We want to make sure that our neighbors are the first people in line,” Bunch says.
The idea for the doughnut and coffee shop began with dance of all things. While Chef Tucker had been toying with the business idea in his mind for about 10 years, it wasn’t until talking with Whitman at a dance fundraiser event for their daughters that it started to sound like a reality.
“It just so happened that we were two people who had the same idea and seemed to have the perfect conversation about it,” Bunch adds.
Skip forward a month, and they are testing out dough recipes and topping flavors in Bunch’s kitchen to see if their dream could become a reality. Whitman got Schlenker on board, and the rest is history.
The testing must have worked because the head chef believes he has now perfected the art of making a doughnut. By preparing the dough the night before and letting it proof in the refrigerator for 24 hours, the dough stays light and airy throughout the cooking process the next day. Doughnuts are made to order, so as soon as a customer pays, their gourmet hand-cut doughnut is placed in the fryer to cook, and then toppings are added accordingly.
So far, the best seller is the classic vanilla bean glaze. The two other standard flavors offered are cinnamon and sugar, which essentially taste like a churro in doughnut form, and chocolate, but not with your average chocolate glaze. At Dutch Door, the dark chocolate crumbles are blended and then added to melt onto the warm doughnut after coming out of the fryer. Bunch highly recommends eating the delicious treats as soon as they are done and warm for the best overall experience.
The last three flavors of the week depend on what is locally in season and what inspires the staff. Recent flavors include Carmel Valley Plum, Raspberry Pomegranate, Maple Bacon and more. All these doughnuts can be bought for three to four dollars apiece. Chef Tucker also anticipates local partnerships occurring soon with wineries in Carmel Valley and The Cheese Shop, also located in the Plaza.
Dutch Door Donuts is open every day on the uppermost level of the plaza from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, but closing time can differ based on how long supplies last.
Dutch Door Donuts can be easily located by their trademark tangerine orange dutch doors and line of customers waiting to get their hands on a warm doughnut and coffee to escape the Carmel fog.