4 minute read

Dough-Versity Doughnut Dreams

story: Sam Cioffi

photography: Jugal Jain


Residents of Oxford know and love Oxford Doughnut Shoppe, the classic location in town known for selling out every morning because of their popularity. However, there’s a new doughnut shop in town:Dough-Versity, a new option for sweet treats, opened up on Beech Street just off High Street this past summer.

Upon entering Dough-Versity for the first time, customers are immediately greeted by an interior straight out of an HGTV catalog. The shop is freshly furnished with a quaint, country chic style that can be seen even in the tables and chairs. David Bryan, the shop’s owner, says Dough-Versity’s interior was designed by his family.

Even from the beginning, this little family-owned doughnut shop has been anything but average. Relatively new to the Oxford scene, Dough-Versity first openedon June 1, 2018, which is also National Doughnut Day.

“We hadn’t originally planned on that. I was just shooting for a June 1 open after the students had left to give us the summer to get our processes down, and try to figure out what we’re doing before we got the onslaught of college students. It worked out kind of neat,” Bryan says.

Bryan hadn’t always planned on opening up a doughnut shop in the middle of rural Ohio. There had been an ongoing joke between Bryan and his wife that if a doughnut shop other than Oxford Doughnut Shoppe were to open in town, it would probably do amazingly well because of the abundance of students looking for their sugar fix. After three years of tossing the idea around, Bryan finally decided that he would give his doughnut dream a try.

It was a process that was easier said than done. While there always seemed to be space available for a shop location in Uptown Oxford, no one was willing to accept new tenants. Bryan got lucky one day when he noticed that a store that was scheduled to move, leaving an unoccupied Uptown storefront. Every day after, Bryan drove by the storefront until a “For Rent” sign appeared in the window. When one finally did, he made a phone call to Oxford Realty about the availability of the location.

“I was told by the realtor that there was already a contract on it,” Bryan says, “But asked if there was a possibility that it wouldn’t go through and she said that there was and that I would know by the Friday of that week.”

When Friday arrived, the realtor informed Bryan that the other deal had fallen through due to zoning purposes and was now available if he was still interested. Though he hadn’t seen the inside of the storefront in its current state, Bryan remembered the setup of the location from when it used to be Looney T Birds Record and Tape. Hedecided that the place would work well for the doughnut shop, and he agreed to take it. The Bryan family finally attained possession of the property on November 14, 2017. From this point to the time the shop opened, the Bryan family worked to build Dough-Versity from the ground up. Bryan, his wife and their two sons assembled everything inside and out. All of the carpeting was torn out, new flooring was put down, and all the walls were freshly painted. They spent hours working after their day jobs for months until the final product was finished.

When it came time to name the shop, it turned out to be a relatively quick process compared to the rest of their journey to opening. Bryan’s wife had the thought to combine the words “doughnut” and “university,” and the creative play-on-words stuck as the new name of their family project.w

Fast-forward to now, and Dough-Versity is the only doughnut shop in Uptown Oxford. Business is great,according to Bryan,and theshopalready hasa few customer favorites that sell out quickly, such as the new treat called the Pinecone.

“I’ve never heard anyone say that they don’t like the Pinecone. It’s not quite a doughnut; it’s kind of like an apple fritter and a cinnamon roll, but shaped like a pinecone. It’s perfect for the fall,” Bryan says.

Bryan’s favorite menu item is their doughnut holes. While these simple little balls of dough mainly comeonly in the traditional glazed, there are certain seasons when you can find flavors like Kool-Aid. For the fall season, there are cinnamon sugar and pumpkin flavored doughnut holes. They also sell unique doughnut flavors including peanut butter cup, strawberry cheesecake, Fruity Pebble and maple bacon.

But, where do these doughnuts come from exactly? Dough-Versity employs an unusual process when it comes to getting their doughnuts. The Bryan family decided to utilize the large number of doughnut shops that are on the Butler County Doughnut Trail, a list made up of about 12 individual doughnut shops. As of now, Dough-Versity is buying the products that they sell from three different shops in Eden, Springboro and Miamisburg, Ohio. Each of their suppliers delivers a batch of freshly-baked doughnuts in the morning around 5 a.m. and then another batch around 7 p.m. for the shop’s nightshift, which begins at 8 p.m.

“You’re getting the same fresh doughnuts that you would get from any other doughnut shop you walk into that actually makes their doughnuts right there,” Bryan said.

Even if doughnuts and pastries aren’t your cup of tea, Dough-Versity also offers a plethora of drinks, such as nitro brew coffee. Nitro brew is a cold brew coffee that is brewed over a period of 12 to 24 hours. This brew is then added to nitrogen, which gives the coffee a smooth, sweet finish.

Bryan doesn’t see any competition between wwDough-Versity and Oxford Doughnut Shoppe. The Oxford Doughnut Shoppe, having been around for more than 50 years, has their own clientele which has been returning for years and years, while Dough- Versity tends to cater more to the students and those walking around Uptown.

“I don’t think that Dough-Versity has had any effect on their business whatsoever, which is good. I think that, more than anything, if we are competing with anybody in Uptown, we are competing with Starbucks and Kofenya. Those are the other places with free Wi-Fiand places to sit down,” Bryan says. The Bryan family plans to replicate Dough-Versity in other college towns and universities, mainly within areas where the population grows with the return of students for the school year.

“The business model seems to work everywhere you go because college students seem to really love doughnuts and coffee. The whole Dough-Versity thing would play into any university anywhere in the country,” Bryan says.

So, whether you’re a doughnut lover, a coffee connoisseur or just want a peaceful place to study, consider making Dough-Versity your next stop Uptown!