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Emily’s Donuts and Café Opens on Merrimac Trail

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

(Hannah S. Ostroff/ WYDaily)

(Hannah S. Ostroff/ WYDaily)

Getting Emily’s Donuts and Café up and running has been an adventure, but one that has become much sweeter in the last few days.

Commuters driving past the Merrimac Trail location might have noticed the major building project, from open beams in November to the finished façade and new sign that now greets visitors.

The locally owned restaurant opened its doors to patrons Saturday. It will be open 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Emily’s Donuts and Café is named after owner Jim Yates’ daughter. Yates is a Virginia native who has lived the last 25 years in Williamsburg.

After many years in the fire equipment business, he decided to turn his love of baking into an eating establishment.

Yates does some of the baking at the café, which offers 35 varieties rotated throughout the day. All doughnuts are homemade and fresh each morning.

Customers scope out the offerings at Emily's Donuts and Café (Hannah S. Ostroff/ WYDaily)

Customers scope out the offerings at Emily’s Donuts and Café (Hannah S. Ostroff/ WYDaily)

Unlike the recently opened Duck Donuts, which carries cake doughnuts, Emily’s Donuts and Café has mostly yeast-based doughnuts. These products rise with yeast — not baking powder or soda — and are then fried for a lighter bite.

Doughnuts are new to lead baker J. D. Bell, but he said the dough is similar to what he worked with in a previous job.

Bell is one of about 12 staff members at the store, which has seating for 12.

Doughnuts sell for $1.20 or $1.50, depending on filling, with a dozen available for $12.75.

A longtime baker in private, Yates said he loves making rum cakes and pound cakes. In addition to doughnuts, his restaurant will offer other baked goods and pies, with a pecan variety currently for sale.

Emily’s Donuts and Café also offers six varieties of coffee plus specialty beverages by Baltimore Coffee. Yates takes pride in that array of products.

(Hannah S. Ostroff/ WYDaily)

(Hannah S. Ostroff/ WYDaily)

“We’re going to compete with Starbucks,” he said.

So far, Yates said business has been good, and Bell agreed.

“We’ve sold out our last two days,” he said on Monday, the third day the store was open.

Yates believes the location of Emily’s Donuts and Café will attract customers, and the delicious treats will keep them coming back for more.

He described Williamsburg as a “bedroom community”—one where many residents travel out of the area for work. Workers traveling south and looking to avoid I-64 will drive right past the café on Route 143.

Bakeries and similar restaurants are successful based on quality products and word of mouth, Yates said. As long as Emily’s Donuts and Café is consistent in its products, “business will take care of itself.”

A grand opening is planned in the next few weeks.

The restaurant is located at 7123 Merrimac Trail. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page, or call 345-3602.

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Posted by on February 4, 2014. Filed under Local News,Wmbg Govt Notebook. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

11 Responses to Emily’s Donuts and Café Opens on Merrimac Trail

  1. lisa jones Reply

    February 28, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I love emilys the donuts are delicious and i love them they are great everytime

  2. Brandon Taylor Reply

    February 17, 2014 at 8:32 am

    The donuts are amazing and the staff is very nice! I have been four times in two weeks for a coffee and a tasty donut.

  3. Wanda Reply

    February 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Stopped by the other morning to buy some donuts to bring to work. They were delicious! Customer service was outstanding! Will definitely be going back!

  4. Janell Hunnell Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I can not wait to try the donuts! Will be in as soon as I get rid of this head cold.

  5. Diana Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 11:37 am

    AMAZING! Today when on my way into work was the first day I actually saw somewhere to park! And they told me they hope to deliver soon…uh-oh!!

    Great Job!

    Very friendly and nice staff too!!

    Glad you are closed on my way home : )

  6. EatPlayWilliamsburg Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Exciting to see another donut shop open up!

  7. SocraticThinker Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 11:50 am

    LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR…B-R-A-V-O! And the caring fact that he added the special personal touch of…EMILY!

  8. Jennifer Gross Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I was lucky enough to have the Cinnamon Twist and it was WONDERFUL. Good luck to the Yates family.

  9. Drew Gruber Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Stopped by just a few moments ago. It was busy, there were doughnuts, smiles and lots of good conversation. Head over to Emilys! The doughnuts are tasty, the coffee is good and the prices are great.

  10. kat Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    It’s great to see the amazing upgrades on this building. Thank you Yates family. Can’t wait to grab a doughnut!

    Plus all the facelifts and construction on Second Street and Rt. 143 have been very encouraging to witness, especially for those of us who live nearby.

  11. David Chin Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Had one (okay . . . two), as my Branch Manager stoked the office at this mornings meeting. Terrific treat soon to become a tradition, I trust. Good Luck!

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