By Kate Murphy
Lakeland’s newest dessert and breakfast spot is Charlie’s Mini Donuts located on 1023 East CountyRoad.
Although they’re best known for their unique donuts, their menu offers more than their name suggests. Customers are able to enjoy a large selection of coffees, smoothies, and an ice cream sundae layered with your favorite donuts and vanilla ice cream that they make fresh daily.
The shop is named after the red-headed young son of the owners, Carlo and Marcel Bashoura, who began the difficult work of starting a small business from the ground up in the last two years.
“It was challenging but after eight months we were able to start and we’ve been blessed,” the owner said. “People love the product, they love the idea, and they keep coming back and recommending us.”
The shop itself was designed by the Bashouras, and when the building process began they enlisted the help of a technician. Since the business opened, they’ve learned how much responsibility and time is involved in small business ownership. The family prioritizes keeping their employees happy and maintaining the shop’s cleanliness and efficiency.
Most of their materials are locally sourced from companies in the Lakeland and Clearwater areas, and they make their donuts fresh. When a customer places an order, the employees begin the process of mixing and frying the donuts they chose. After that they dress them up exactly as the customer wants it.
Charlie’s offers nineteen different flavors—from cinnamon sugar to Rice Krispie to chocolate peanut butter—but the owner indicates that they could add another nineteen. Suggestions for new and unusual flavors come from customers, employees, and online sources. They are willing to make anything they have ingredients for to make their customers happy.
“We accommodate our customers and we’ll work around their tastes,” Carlo Bashoura says. The menu offers so many choices that everyone will be pleased, and the donuts are so fresh they are still warm when you bite in.
Over a decade ago, Bashoura first saw someone successful in the mini donut business at a farmer’s market in Seattle. He and Marcel, avid coffee lovers, felt the need for a similar shop in Lakeland.
It is a residential area with many schools and churches without many options for desserts. Their proximity to two restaurants encourages diners to have mini donuts after dinner. As a New Englander accustomed to my Dunkin iced coffee extra-extra, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed their coffee so much. Each of the donuts, still warm from the oven, was a perfect bite.
Charlie’s Mini Donuts is fresh, local, and very friendly—the best place in Lakeland to find something sweet.