The Donut Trail is a fixture in Butler County, and one of the many stops is The Donut Dude in West Chester Twp.
The Donut Dude has a variety of flavors of donuts and other pastries, but that’s not the only thing that makes it worth a visit: The Donut Dude is involved with several charities, allowing customers to get a snack and help the world around them in one stop.
Glen Huey, who owns the store with his wife Laurie, had an unusual path to restaurant ownership. For years he had a woodworking shop located behind a donut shop, and would smell the donuts every day upon leaving the shop.
“I would tell my wife that I wanted to learn more about donuts,” he said. “She finally said that I should get a job at a donut shop, so I did. After working for a few months, I discovered that I was having a blast learning and working with younger folks,” Huey said.
“The more I thought, the more I knew I could make a business of donuts.”
The business’ name has a serendipitous origin.
“I was driving along a rural road when I noticed a sign that was something ‘dude.’ I immediately called my wife and we agreed on Donut Dude,” Huey said.
The Donut Dude opened in March 2020, around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What sunk many businesses ended up benefitting The Donut Dude — everyone was stressed out and, as people do, they sought out comfort food such as donuts.
The Donut Dude’s more interesting flavors include pecan turtle, red velvet and cinnamon crumbs. The store even sells vegan donuts on weekends.
“We begin most weekends with 50 different donuts on our shelves, and most weeks we introduce a new donut to our customers,” Huey explains. The variety and creativity, which Huey describes as the things that set The Donut Dude apart from other local donut shops, is the fun part of the business.
Another thing that sets The Donut Dude apart from the rest is its involvement with several charities, including Animal Friends Humane Society, the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund and Reach Out Lakota (with which they recently wrapped up an event). They work with these charities by designing a charity donut and donating all proceeds from that donut in a given week for that charity.
They also donate donuts to the Edge Teen Center’s afterschool programs.
“Charity work overall has declined since the pandemic and has yet to return in full,” Huey said. “Most of the charities that have worked out the best are local. We particularly like working with Reach Out Lakota and with Animal Friends.”
As with many restaurants, one of the aspects of running a business that Huey finds the most difficult is keeping it staffed. Huey’s favorite part of owning a business is interacting with and getting to know customers, especially regulars, and once Huey can find enough workers, he hopes to expand to one or two more shops in the Cincinnati area.
HOW TO GO
What: The Donut Dude
Where: 7132 Cincinnati Dayton Rd #900 in West Chester Twp.
Hours: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, open from 5:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays through Saturdays and 7 a.m. to noon Sundays.
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