A specialty doughnut shop is set to open in Arlington with a never-before-seen twist: the self-serve doughnut bar.
Called Crunch Donut Factory, it will allow customers to buy fancy doughnuts with treats on top or else create a fancy doughnut by choosing their own toppings.
Owners are Jim Huntley and Mike Weyneth, who were childhood friends.
"We'd been tossing around ideas on something to do together, and had a conversation about doughnuts," Huntley says. "We were sharing a memory about our childhood when we used to go to the doughnut shop in the morning and how much we enjoyed it. And then we said, 'doughnuts!'"
They'd also been inspired by the new wave of "extreme" doughnut shops, al la the trend-setting Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon.
"We wanted to take that innovative concept to a higher level by involving the customer in the process of creation," Weyneth says.
Weyneth is an entrepreneur in the fitness industry; Huntley has a food and beverage industry background, including 14 years at Morton's Steakhouse.
"We were ready for something different," Huntley says. "I've been in the food industry for 30 years, and fine dining for 20 years. Going from steak to doughnuts is a drastic step. But it's still about people and putting out a great product."
What sets Crunch apart from other doughnut shops is its Chipotle-like assembly line. Customers select a basic doughnut, be it cake-style or yeast-raised, and then make their way down a row of icings and toppings such as M&Ms, nuts, and Oreos, picking whatever they want. "We even have soft serve ice cream so you can have a doughnut sundae," he says.
The only thing they lack is an "ugh," opting for the truncated "donut" spelling instead of the more proper doughnut. Needs the ugh!
They're aiming to open by the end of April in the former U R Donuts space on South Cooper Street, not far from the Parks Mall, with more outlets on the way. "Who doesn’t love doughnuts, and with this, you get the opportunity to create your own," Huntley says.