The cronut craze has made its way to Huntington Beach. The popular 24-hour doughnut-slinging Donuttery introduced the doughnut-croissant hybrids about a month ago, and they deliver on every sugary, flaky, calorie-packed promise.
If you're an HB local, chances are you've already sampled the made-from-scratch Donuttery doughnuts, baked and deep fried by owner Ty Chhan with the help of his wife, Thang, and two other bakers-pastry chefs. The round pastries come in just about any flavor imaginable, with the maple bacon bar, red velvet and blueberry rounds taking the cake. In response to an overwhelming amount of Facebook comments, The Donuttery began baking up vegan cake doughnuts about a year ago. There really is something for everyone—even cronut fans.
But Chhan doesn't call his newest offerings cronuts. "I don't want to get sued," he tells us, laughing. Rather, all varieties answer to the name "cronuttery." For the less adventurous, Chhan and his crew deep fry a plain cronuttery and cover it with either glaze or cinnamon and sugar. Chhan prefers the latter.
Those who choose to indulge 100 percent should opt for the seasonal fresh fruit fillings and housemade custards and creams, which sit between layers of crisp, buttery croissant. Of course, not all of the above invade one cronuttery, but almost any combination of the above is available: strawberry custard (most popular), strawberry cream, chocolate strawberry, chocolate banana, strawberry banana custard and plain custard. They're absolutely gorgeous and delicious (but hardly nutritious).
We'll admit, we were entranced while carving into strawberry banana custard and chocolate strawberry cream cronutteries. A knife and fork are required to conquer these decadent desserts.
Priced a bit higher than doughnuts, cronutteries cost $4 without filling, $5 with. We highly recommend gifting your sweet teeth whatever they demand, and we also suggest stopping by in the evening around 9 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends to score a warm, crispy cronuttery. "Every 30 to 40 minutes there's a different kind of hot doughnut coming out," says Chhan.
The doughnut-cronuttery machine continues throughout the night until about 6 a.m., with the cronutteries requiring an extra lengthy three- to four-hour preparation. During the week, the crew churns out about 100 to 150 cronutteries each day. The number jumps to 200 to 250 on the weekends, and they sell out almost daily.
A man as warm as the doughy rings when they leave the frier, Chhan works 12 to 16 hours a day to meet his business' booming demands. He enjoys at least one doughnut daily, too. Thang lends a hand with the toppings, noting that she finishes off the cronutteries to order to ensure maximum freshness and crunch. Patrons will likely spot at least one of the couple's three children helping out at the shop or quietly entertaining themselves in the back room.
The Donuttery opened its doors in 1994, and as we sipped our hot, bold coffee and sampled sweets in the modest cafe, we were excitedly told numerous times that there's no place quite like it. Overwhelmed regulars still stare at the array of colorful creations, struggling to choose once at the counter. Lines aren't uncommon, but any item, including the breakfast and lunch sammies and fresh baked breads, are well worth the wait. Here lies another HB strip mall gem, but she's no secret.
Hailing from Lakewood, Chhan now lives in Fountain Valley, but his heart remains in HB. "You can't find a place better than here," he says. And we echo that sentiment right back at your Donuttery, Chhan.
He filled us in on a few upcoming changes at The Donuttery, including a tweak to the cronuttery menu. When strawberry production runs low, they'll instead offer a chocolate mocha cronuttery. Come January menu prices will rise, and the doughnut masters are also considering adding a chocolate glazed option to the menu. If you need any taste testers, Donuttery, we're here.
The Donuttery is located at 17420 Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach, 714-847-7000. Hours are listed as 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday and 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. However, the shop currently never closes its doors.