The Untold Truth Of Legendary Doughnuts

Eclectic doughnut shops are all the rage, and there's nowhere in America where they fuel residents as much as the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the popularity of Voodoo Doughnut, it is no longer weird to see cereal as a doughnut topping or blunt-shaped pastries when swinging by your local bakery for breakfast. For that, we salute them. But Portlandia isn't the only place to find doughnuts with a kooky twist. Since setting up shop a decade ago, Legendary Doughnuts in Washington has baked doughnuts packed with creativity, originality, and a whole lot of sugar, becoming trendsetters in their own right. The mission? To spread happiness and love in the form of doughnuts. Their eye-catching goodies have drawn sweet tooths from all over the South Sound region, even receiving the Best of Tacoma Award for the years in a row (via Travel Tacoma). They may not be a household name, but by the time you're finished reading this, you'll be wondering how they aren't one (yet).  

Should you grab a box from them on the way to the office like always, think about where Legendary Doughnuts has come — and where they're going next. Let's dive into the untold truth of Legendary Doughnuts. 

Legendary Doughnuts started at home

Like all small businesses, Legendary Doughnuts began as a labor of love. Ken and Shannon Patten, a couple and Washington residents, decided to open their own doughnut shop in the place they knew best — home. The first location opened for business in May 2010 in Lakeland Hills, a woodsy neighborhood tucked away in Auburn, Washington (via Specialty Food Association). For Shannon, the decision to open a doughnut shop in the community they came from was a no-brainer, especially when the nation was grappled by the Great Recession. 

"This is our home," she revealed in a 2018 video interview. "This is where we live close by, we shop in the shopping center, we know the community and the people well, and it was a good transition for us."

Additionally, Patten wanted to open a spot where everyone in the community would be welcome. Whether it was "young kids," "elderly folk," or "business people" popping in for a doughnut or coffee, Legendary Doughnuts was created as a place to "spread the love." Because nothing in the world makes us happier than the perfect doughnut!

Legendary Doughnuts offer four types of doughnuts

Among the 30+ flavors displayed daily, customers get their pick of different doughnut styles. As noted by Travel Tacoma, there are four types to choose from: Legendary, Famous, Amateur, and Extraordinary. Legendary is the most quintessentially, well, Legendary. This doughnut variety features plentiful toppings and fillings, with flavor combinations reminiscent of indulgent desserts. Think pillowy confections based off of candy bars and cakes — Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, Twix, Oreo Cheesecake. 

Famous are a mix of simpler pastries that still offer edge, like Caramel Sea Salt, Buttermilk Bars, and the Fruity Pebbles-encrusted Fred Flintstone. Amateur are the staples you can find in any doughnut shop, including Maple Bars and Glazed, that would please just about everyone. 

And finally, Extraordinary covers doughnuts that go above and beyond the usual bakery fare. One of the specialties is the Doughsant, a clever hybrid fusing the flaky consistency of a croissant with the fluffy doughnut. Many Doughsants come in flavors already offered on the menu (via Legendary Doughnuts). All these choices make for repeat visits, as you'll want to try as many as you can!

Many doughnuts have quirky names

What turns heads at Legendary Doughnuts isn't only the extravagant doughnuts, though that's a major part of it. It's also the quirky names. Celebrities, TV characters, and philosophers can be spotted among the plethora of sweet treats, a concept, according to Patten, that intended to pay tribute to "all the great people that have made everything what it is today" (via YouTube). Besides putting a smile on your face, the names are cleverly crafted around each doughnut, adding a memorable touch to your morning doughnut run.

Pop-culture references abound on the shop's menu: Lucille Ball, Charlie Brown, Albert Einstein, Snow White. The list goes on and on, and with fitting flavors to match. Bill Gates, a chocolate cake doughnut with icing and creme, got its name for being "rich," explains King5 News, while the rum-soaked Captain Jack takes inspiration from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. They also show pride for their home NFL team the Seattle Seahawks, as well as cheeky nods to the state itself. For example, take Sleepless in Seattle. It's a chocolate cake doughnut dunked in mocha glaze and cream. But as a final flourish, it's garnished with a chocolate-coated espresso bean. You can't top that! 

The most popular doughnut is the Oprah Bar

Between candy-dipped rings and fillings galore, it would be hard picking a single favorite doughnut from Legendary. But regulars and staff alike know a hit when they see it, and it turns out they have quite a few bestsellers on the books. Aside from the standard fare, the chain's most popular doughnut is the Oprah Bar (via YouTube). What's the Oprah Bar all about? It's a classic maple bar with crispy bacon bits sprinkled on top. A doughnut Oprah would love, we're sure. 

But given their reputation for outlandish concoctions, one might find it surprising that such a simple doughnut comes out on top. Yet it makes total sense. It's basic enough for traditionalists to enjoy — not too sugary, not too sweet — while being enough of a novelty for more adventurous palates craving some excitement. Plus, it utilizes the flavors people like eating for breakfast, like maple and bacon. Not everyone wants to start their day with a chocolate-peanut butter-caramel explosion (unless they're Buddy the Elf), so the Oprah Bar offers a solid middle ground. Plus it's absolutely scrumptious. It even comes in Doughsant form, giving customers two different (and delicious) ways to enjoy this crowd-pleaser. 

Doughnuts aren't the only thing the brand sells

The one expectation we have of Legendary Doughnuts is to make fluffy, freshly-made doughnuts. So what if we told you they sold things other than doughnuts? In addition to the namesake treat, customers can indulge their sweet tooth in baked goods made from scratch. They make brownies, lemon bars, and cannoli as well as seasonal treats like hot cocoa bombs and traditional Paczki for Mardi Gras (via Legendary Doughnuts). They even have dog treats

Patrons celebrating a milestone can order a "Celebratory Cake" consisting of giant glazed doughnut rings stacked up like a layer cake. The end result is a dessert worthy of any special occasion, from weddings and birthdays to New Year's gatherings. But the creme de la creme of Legendary's bakery are the specialty items. They offer party-ready doughnut towers, booze-filled balls, and cakes resembling a giant hamburger with fries. But for a truly "legendary" dessert, it's the King Kong that takes the cake. According to the website, it's a maple bacon cake that measures 2-feet in diameter and weighs approximately 11 pounds, requiring customers to order one day in advance. 

Doughnuts can be made to order

Let's say you walk in craving a Twinkie doughnut, but they don't have it in the shop that day. Talk about a bummer, right? Well, it turns out you don't have to settle for whatever is in the pastry case. Legendary Doughnuts welcomes custom accommodations so you can leave the store enjoying whatever your heart desires. Simply request what you'd like when you approach the counter and staff will whip up your doughnut of choice, no questions asked.

Yet customizations aren't something they only offer out of obligation; they welcome it. Shannon Patten revealed in an interview (via YouTube) that plain doughnuts are stored in the kitchen specifically for this reason. "I think that's one of our unique features here at our shop," Ken Patten told King5 News. "They can ask for it, and we're glad to make it up for them. We have great bakers and decorators that will do anything." Considering most doughnut places operate with a take-it-or-leave-it approach, this is the kind of flexibility that separates them from other businesses. 

Legendary Doughnuts takes its treats on the road with its food truck

If you thought food trucks were just for shawarmas or street tacos, you would be mistaken. In fact, they make the perfect mode of transportation for carting fresh doughnuts around, which is why Legendary Doughnuts has one of their own. Locals can find their wheels parked around town serving an array of doughnuts, with a full cafe set-up for making coffee drinks and smoothies. 

Past haunts include the Boeing Classic golf tournament in Snoqualmie and T-Mobile Park, but those craving a sugary sweet experience all to themselves can make a reservation online. They'll show up to just about any place you can think of — schools, offices, work events, or any occasion where people could use a doughnut. As a small business, however, it's likely they get many requests due to the high demand for doughnuts, and their doughnuts in particular. That's why they warn customers up front that requests may be unfulfilled (via Legendary Doughnuts). So plan accordingly! You know they're a hit everywhere they go. 

Doughnuts can be delivered to your door

In theory, there's not a single drive for doughnuts that wouldn't be worth the trip. But for those Saturday mornings when you'd rather not leave the cozy confines of your bed, Legendary Doughnuts will deliver them straight to your door. Customers can place orders through Doordash for doughnuts, desserts, and beverages without having to leave the house. While the delivery menu is more limited, there's still enough variety to get a taste of what the doughnut chain is all about. Popular offerings include the Six Pack or Favorite Dozen, which features an assortment of the shop's fan-favorite doughnuts. Ideal for large get-togethers or first-time customers wanting to sample a little bit of everything. If you're not in the mood for a doughnut, you can't go wrong with bestsellers like the Brownie, Lemon Bar, and Cannoli. To quench your thirst, they have the usual soda and coffee options along with house-made Red Bull spritzers. 

Legendary Doughnuts created a doughnut ice cream sandwich

Innovation is always on the menu at Legendary Doughnuts, so when it comes to sweet treats no idea is truly off limits. In 2016, the shop rolled out a hot new confection to cool people down during the summer months called the "Polar Panini". Shannon Patten says the concept for a doughnut-ice cream hybrid came after attending a trade show (via King5 News) and from there, the team at Legendary Doughnuts went to work bringing "the ultimate ice cream sandwich" to life. 

Here's how it works: a doughnut is sliced apart and stuffed with vanilla ice cream and filling that's then grilled in a custom panini press. Employees pop the sandwich in for an exact nine seconds so it doesn't melt or burn. Since they're made to order, each panini will be hot and fresh the moment you take a bite. Popular flavors include Apple Pie and PB&J, but visitors can choose whatever fillings they like. Like the Doughnut Sundae, it's only offered in the summertime, making it a special treat fans can look forward to every season.

Legendary Doughnuts have seven locations and counting

Washington is where Legendary Doughnuts was born, and it's where the bakery has continued to grow. As of today they've opened seven locations throughout the Seattle suburbs, spreading the love of doughnuts in Covington, Federal Way (their busiest store), Issaquah, Lakeland Hills, Orting, Puyallup, and Tacoma (via YouTube). For its humble start, they've done quite well for themselves; Shannon Patten has stated the original plan was to open five shops, so they've already met their goal and then some. 

Currently, it doesn't appear there are any plans of moving the doughnut chain outside The Evergreen State anytime soon. But who can say what the future will bring? Its impressive expansion within a 10-year period is clear proof that Legendary Doughnuts has a lot to offer: pastries that brighten even the grayest of Seattle days, a big heart, and making people smile with something sweet. As the shop's tagline says: Share the love, buy a dozen, and make someone's day legendary!