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Duck Donuts opens 'made-to-order' shop in Lancaster

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Take a second and imagine you’re on vacation.

You wake up to the sound of the ocean and spend your morning on the boardwalk drinking coffee and eating a warm doughnut as you watch the sun rise.

Sounds nice, right?

Starting Saturday, locals can have that feeling all year long.

Duck Donuts, a made-to-order doughnut franchise, is opening its first Pennsylvania location along Fruitville Pike in Lancaster.

If you’ve ever vacationed in the Outer Banks, you’ve probably seen the shop before at its original locations in Kitty Hawk and Duck, N.C.

But even though the Lancaster shop is more than 100 miles from the ocean, you instantly feel the beach-y vibe when you walk in. The sky blue walls are bright and inviting, and an ocean painting almost makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Almost.

What sets Duck Donuts apart from your average doughnut shop is the idea that the doughnuts are fresh and made-to-order for every customer.

“We never case our doughnuts,” CEO Russ DiGilio, of Mechanicsburg, said. “We make the batter fresh, and our objective is to make the perfect doughnut for every customer every single time.”

Customers can choose from a list of 10 coatings, six toppings and four drizzles to top their vanilla cake doughnuts, he said.

Some of the most popular choices are chocolate icing, cinnamon sugar and maple icing with bacon pieces.

After they order, customers can watch the whole process as the doughnut batter is dropped into the fryer, flipped and decorated.

“I want people to know it’s not just about a great doughnut,” DiGilio said. “It’s also about the experience.”

Ahead of Duck Donuts’ opening on Saturday, FlipSidePA editor Skye Leppo and I went behind the counter to see for ourselves how the doughnuts are made. We even got to test out the shop's “dip, tip and flip” technique of icing the doughnuts. And trust us, it’s a little tougher than it looks.

Take a look at the doughnut-making fun in the video above.

Then, of course, came the taste test.

Per DiGilio’s recommendation, I tried the Maple Bacon doughnut. The doughnut, itself, was a little crispy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. And the deliciously sweet maple icing paired with the crunch of bacon bits can only be described as perfection.

Other items on the menu include breakfast sandwiches, coffee, espresso drinks and doughnut sundaes.

A special grand opening celebration with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and special discounts is scheduled for Friday, May 27.

The Fruitville Pike location will be Duck Donuts’ 23rd shop, DiGilio said. He expects to have 35 to 40 locations by the end of the year, including a few in Pittsburgh and one in Mechanicsburg, which will open in June.

“It’s my home state,” he said. “And that’s where I want to be.”

If you go:

Location: 2907 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster (Manheim Township)

Cuisine: Breakfast

Abbey’s pick: Maple Bacon doughnut, $1.30

Parking: Lot

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Price range: single doughnut, $1.30 to $17.50 for a bucket of 18

Alcohol: No

Accepts: Cash and credit

Takeout: Yes

Kid’s menu: No

Details: Call 717-435-9655 or visit