Duck Donuts bringing customizable delights to Encinitas

A Wonka-like paradise for donuts is set to rise in Encinitas this weekend.

Duck Donuts will open its California location Oct. 20 at 1452 Encinitas Boulevard, following seven years of success on the east coast.

The concept is entirely based on customization: You walk in, grab an order sheet and choose which toppings, drizzles or sauces you want to place on a made-to-order vanilla cake base.

Laura Manley Aughinbaugh, the Encinitas location's owner, said the donuts are made from the freshest ingredients, which means no pastries sitting in glass cabinets getting stale throughout the day.

"When you walk into our store and you decide what you want to have from our selection, your donuts get plopped into the fryer," she said. "They're actually fried to order. There are no shelf donuts here. If you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare to make it extra good, you can here."

Manley Aughinbaugh described the confections as having a "melt-in-your-mouth texture on the inside and light, crispy and golden on the outside" and topped with warm icings that are made in-house from bases like peanut butter, maple, strawberry and lemon.

The San Elijo Hills woman and her husband decided to bring the franchise to Encinitas last year after visiting a shop in North Carolina, where the business first opened in 2011.

"We were watching the sunrise on the beach, all snuggled up in blankets,” she recalled. “My husband wanted to go get some donuts. I stayed on the beach and my husband plopped these four boxes of donuts on my lap, and they were warm. ... I had no idea he was going to get donuts made for us. ... It's a product of its own. Donuts are delicious, but this is the next step above."

Manley Aughinbaugh, who is a full-time healthcare worker, described the venture as something fun for her family to do together.

"We're at that place where our kids are getting older, we've been in our careers for a while, we love our community and we wanted to do something fun just to mix it up," she said.

She described Encinitas as the perfect location for Duck Donuts' second California location, following the opening of a Huntington Beach store in June. The business currently has 72 stores across the U.S.

"[Encinitas] is a vacation destination 365 days a year," she said. "You have that laidback, beachy vibe which is very much the feeling of a Duck Donuts store. The whole entertainment foodie industry is happening here, too."

Manley Aughinbaugh also noted the popularity of build-your-own meals and desserts, such as Chipotle, poke bowls and sushi burritos.

Donuts are a perfect addition to that trend, she said.

"Everybody loves to be their own little special entity," she said. "By customizing your own order, you can really cater to your own tastes."

For more information, visit www.duckdonuts.com.

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