On a drizzly Thursday morning in late December just after dawn, there’s already a crowd gathering on Loudoun Street in downtown Leesburg. And doughnuts are what all the fuss is about.
Since opening last month, B Doughnut has been a local sensation, drawing hungry foodies and families for fresh, handmade doughnuts.
At 8 a.m. sharp, owner Pin Chanthapanya opens the door and patrons flow into the cozy, warmly lit cafe. Pin’s husband Brian and two assistants have been in the kitchen since the night before, cutting the dough and hand rolling each doughnut. They’ll sell about 1,300 fresh doughnuts before noon and often sell out before closing time.
The bakers get the process going the day before, starting the dough, which ferments in buckets. Around 11 p.m., they cut and hand-roll the dough, leaving it to rise. Brian and crew start frying the doughnuts at 4 a.m. and then add sugar or glaze. Pin arrives around 6 a.m. to add the filling (the creams and jams are also made from scratch) and then runs the front of the shop.
Word has spread over the past few weeks about the bakery’s trademark sugar-crusted chocolate and vanilla bean cream doughnuts, along with exotic special flavors of the month—like gingerbread for the holidays. The shop also offers non-filled doughnuts like traditional glazed and chocolate glazed with sprinkles. And its savory everything bagel doughnuts, filled with cream cheese with chives or bacon (or a special lox filling on weekends) are also drawing a following.
Just two years ago, both Pin and Brian were working corporate jobs. But the couple’s love of good food and passion for baking led them in another direction.
“We’re foodies so we travel around a lot trying different places,” Pin said “He just woke up one day and was like I want to open a doughnut shop.”
They opened their first B Doughnut location in Baltimore, Brian’s former home, in the Hampden neighborhood in the fall of 2015. Around the same time, Pin began doing deliveries in Loudoun and promoting the service using social media. The couple found their space in downtown Leesburg last summer and opened last month—a homecoming for the two Northern Virginia natives. Brian, 30, grew up in Sterling and graduated from Park View High School. Pin, 26, grew up in Fairfax County.
The couple lives in Ashburn with their three children. And just before opening their Leesburg shop, they closed the Baltimore location to make logistics easier. The Leesburg shop is open Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and weekends from 9 a.m. to noon; although, the sign out front and the website warn that the doughnuts often don’t last that long. And Pin says there’s line at 8 a.m. every morning.
Winter break offered a chance for new and returning doughnut lovers to hit the shop, and Debbie Kalriess of Leesburg visited for the third time.
“The first time was a Saturday and I actually was able to get doughnuts at 10:30,” Kalriess said, although she wasn’t taking chances last week, arriving before the doors opened.
Kalriess said she usually gets a sampling of B Doughnut staples (the chocolate glazed is a favorite) and special offerings, but sticking with the shop’s limit of one dozen per family can be a challenge.
John Alford had made his first trip from Sterling to pick up doughnuts as a post-holiday treat for his wife and children.
“It’s kind of a destination. It’s a unique business model,” he said. “Everybody raves about it.”
The early morning Christmas week line had merry, anticipatory vibe—even on a cold, wet day, as customers walked out with boxes or stayed for a cup of coffee.
Pin says she’s run into a few impatient customers who get frustrated when doughnuts run out, but overall, the new shop has been welcomed by the community.
“We’re hoping they’ll understand that this process is long and everything is handcrafted. We’re not using any machines like other places. None of our doughnuts have preservatives so they’re fresh and all the fillings are made from scratch.”
For more information and to check out the menu, go to bdoughnut.com.