Parlor Doughnuts

December 2021
Written By: 
Paul Grimshaw
Photographs by: 
Paul Grimshaw

Serving gourmet doughnuts, coffee drinks, breakfast and more to an enthusiastic Pawleys Island crowd every day

Parlor Doughnuts in Pawleys Island serves lattes, fresh-squeezed juices, breakfast items and gourmet doughnuts.

When the first Parlor Doughnuts opened in Evansville, Indiana, in 2019, Pawleys Island resident Toni Ricker took note. The handcrafted, small-batch gourmet doughnuts there caught her attention, ultimately helping her make the decision to become a franchisee and open her own Parlor Doughnuts in Pawleys Island last July.

One of 14 in the franchise chain, Ricker opened her restaurant in Pawleys Island because she says “it’s home, and I love it here.”

“I have a lifelong obsession with breakfast pastries in general, and doughnuts specifically,” she says. “My background, while not formally in the culinary arts, is in the kitchen, informally. I’ve worked in and out of the kitchen my whole life.”

Not your average doughnut shop, each Parlor Doughnut served is a handcrafted work of art; a culinary creation that must be seen (and tasted) in person to really understand what makes it so special. With a proprietary method, the buttery dough is layered and fried to a crisp outside and fluffy, tender inside in small batches, every day, starting well before sunrise. Then the magic happens.

There are a number of flavor combinations, including French Toast (a bestseller), Maple Bacon, Cookies N’ Cream, Campfire (think S’mores), Caramel Bliss, Turtle Cheesecake, and some 20 varieties in total with seasonal additions. Each doughnut is topped with sweet treats, fruit and even bacon. The creations have created a buzz in the South Strand community, one that takes its growing “foodie” destination seriously, and Parlor Doughnuts fits in.

“We’re open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and often have lines out the door, ” says Ricker, “The restaurant is large, so we can seat a lot of customers, inside and out on our shaded deck and many customers buy them by the dozen to take home.”

Parlor Doughnuts inhabits a space where a number of Pawleys Islands favorites have stood, including the former Pastaria 811.

“We gutted the place,” says Ricker, casting her gaze toward the show kitchen, where patrons can watch each doughnut being created, “and at our bar, we serve fresh-roasted coffee and lattes, teas, fresh pressed juices and nitro cold brews in single servings or by the growler.”

(Right) Owner Toni Ricker is flanked by her two daughters, Ellie (right) and Sophie (left).

An attentive staff, including Ricker’s two daughters, roast coffee beans, make lattes, hand-press oranges for fresh juice drinks, and work the kitchen.

The restaurant also serves breakfast items through noon weekdays and all day on weekends. Patrons may choose from breakfast sandwiches and tacos, avocado toast, spinach pesto on Ciabatta bread, and acai bowls.

In addition to its flagship confections, Parlor Doughnuts makes and serves vegan and gluten-free doughnuts, keto-friendly doughnuts, minis, vegan-friendly nut and oat milks for lattes, and even all-natural house-made doggie treats.

With the success Ricker has enjoyed, plans are underway to open another Parlor Doughnuts in downtown Charleston.

The regressive pricing model means the more you buy, the less each doughnut costs. A single will run around $3, four doughnuts a bit less per doughnut, but at the dozen mark, the cost comes down to around $2 each.

Parlor Doughnuts
11359 Ocean Hwy (U.S. 17)
Pawleys Island
(843) 314-3131