By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News
Local restaurateurs the Patriarca family, owners of Hunan Riverplace, celebrated the grand opening of Big Kahuna Donuts in Steiner Ranch on July 2.
Located at 2900 North Quinlan Park Rd. in the Shops at Steiner center, the mission of Big Kahuna is to create an all-natural product that caters to healthier eaters.
As Rey Patriarca, co-owner of Big Kahuna Donuts with his wife Anna and partners Pat Fetizanan, Dennis de la Paz and Pablo Bonjour, explained, it was a challenge to realize their vision. “We couldn’t get the fillings we wanted from suppliers. Everything has preservatives. Everything had imitation flavoring. So it took a little more time but it was worth it.”
Fetizanan, a resident of Florida and best man at the Patriarca’s wedding, is a self-described, “donut connoisseur.”
“I’ve always loved donuts,” said Fetizanan, in town for the grand opening. “I’ve been to over 52 donut shops in the past 18 months in the United States. I determined that the best donuts are made by independent donut makers. They’re all hand done, they’re all handmade.”
To that end, the partners envisioned a product with, “another twist to it. I wanted something that was healthier.” emphasized Fetizanan. “So we make all of our donuts with non-GMO products, no high fructose corn syrup and at the most we have seven to eight ingredients,” as well as no preservatives or artificial ingredients.
He explained that store-bought donuts typically contain 20 to 30 ingredients, whereas, “Everything that you eat in our donuts you can pronounce.”
The Steiner public seemed hungry for the healthier donuts. Lines on opening day were out the door of the small shop from open to close. Co-owner Anna Patriarca was thrilled by the turnout. “So happy that everyone is so responsive,” she said.
Steiner mom Heidi Golden enjoyed a donut with her daughter on the patio on opening day. “It’s great to be able to walk here. I can just tell my daughter we’re going to get donuts, so clean up your room. Or drink your milk. Or eat your lunch… I’m not above bribery!” she said laughing.
Featuring traditional donuts as well as tropical-inspired flavors (coconut pineapple, anyone?), Big Kahuna Donuts’ current hours are from 6am-1pm. The Patriarcas anticipate expanding store hours in the fall to remain open after school gets out. In addition to their wide range of donuts, they also have plans to offer savory breakfast items, all natural drinks and even gluten-free donuts.
Whatever they order, Fetizanan goal is for customers to, “have a different experience. It’s going to taste different than your store-bought donut, and in a lot of ways we believe better.”