Pretty a-glaze-ing: D’s Nutz Donuts opens in Edwardsburg

Published 7:17 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

EDWARDSBURG — Community members lined up in Edwardsburg Thursday morning to taste D’s Nutz Donuts for the first time.

Open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday thru Sunday, the full-service bakery, located at 68972 M-62, Edwardsburg, offers donuts, cheesecakes, wedding cakes, muffins, bread and more. In addition, D’s Nutz offers coffee options by way of Three Rivers Coffee Company.

The business endeavor is a dream come true for Donielle “Chef D” Watson and her husband Matt Loftus. Watson, an Army veteran, has more than two decades of experience in the culinary world and graduated from culinary school at Ivy Tech Community College in 2020. After years of leading kitchens and creating desserts in local restaurants such as Jay’s Lounge and Flat Rock Grill, Watson thought it was time to create her own business.

“We’ve been building, waiting and anticipating for so long and we’re finally up at that top and we finally get to ride that roller coaster and get everything moving; I’m super pumped,” she said. “One of the greatest things about having your own place is I get to make the rules. Nobody is gonna tell me what I have to do, or what flavors I have to make. It’s all up to us.”

Guests are treated to a wave of nostalgia when they enter the shop’s 90s-themed aesthetic. Bright colors and movie and television posters adorn the walls while 80s and 90s music flows out of the speakers. Edwardsburg resident John Kimmerly was one of D’s Nutz’s first customers and said the fact that the shop opens early is a big draw for those who go to work early.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “We always need more options.”

“That was one of the key reasons we decided to do it,” Loftus said. “I used to work in a factory and there weren’t many options for people. We’re looking forward to it; I think we’re gonna do good.”

Watson said D’s Nutz was born from a conversation with a fellow student while in culinary school.

“I told her I love donuts. I love to eat ’em. I love to make ’em,” she said. “She said ‘you should open your own donut shop.’”

That’s when Watson’s classmate began brainstorming names using her nickname “D.”

“She goes ‘what about D’s Donuts,” she said. “Then she gets a sly smile and said ‘how about D’s Nutz?’ People started cracking up.”

While she dismissed the idea at first, at the encouragement of both her instructor and her husband Matt, Watson decided to go with the name.

“I was thinking that no one would take me seriously as a pastry chef,” she said. “My instructor said that the name was marketing gold. ‘It’s built in for you.’ It got pushed to the back of my mind and when I talked to Matt about it, he said to call it D’s Nutz. I made a Facebook page and it blew up.”

The donut shop with a catchy name amassed a following with more than 2,700 likes on its Facebook page weeks before opening its doors. 

“People are excited,” she said. “We made a Facebook post announcing our opening date that got more than 300 shares. All of our patrons, our regulars and whatnot, they’re all excited about it and nobody seems to have a problem with the name.”

‘If you can bake it, we can make it’

Watson said that her baked goods are made from scratch with real ingredients. While the name may draw people in, for Watson, it is the quality of her goods that keep customers coming back.

“I don’t buy donut mix in a bag,” she said. “Everything is flour, butter, water, yeast, eggs, the whole nine yards. If you get a strawberry donut, it’s because I use strawberries. If you have a blueberry donut it’s because I use blueberries. Ever since I’ve been in culinary, I’ve always believed that if you’re gonna do it, do it right and do it well because it’s not worth serving or giving to anybody to eat if it’s not real.”

In addition, the donut shop offers gluten-free and diabetic-friendly pastry options.

“Because of my education and my experience, I’m able to touch each market so that everybody gets something,” she said. “When we’re making gluten-free, nothing else gets done before the gluten-free is done so there’s no flour floating in the air because you never know how severe someone’s allergy is. I don’t want to play with anybody’s health so if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it properly and correctly.”

Rather than shy away from its eye-catching name, Watson and Loftus have embraced it by incorporating the humor into their menu and specials as well as merchandise. A neon “Eat D’s Nutz” sign in the front window has become something of an attraction.

“As soon as we got that neon sign, we plugged it in and people from [Flat Rock Grill] – when they’re coming and leaving – would stop and take pictures of it and post it on Facebook,” Watson said. “That’s what we want.”

“It just seems like the whole area is excited,” Loftus added.

With its memorable name, fresh pastry options and 90s aesthetic, D’s Nutz Donuts aims to become a destination location.

“Everything’s super 90s and retro and fun,” she said. “I want it to be a place that’s really cool to visit and check out. You’re gonna get really good, quality stuff and a good time with 90’s music playing.”

For more information, head to dsnutzdonuts.com or find D’s Nutz on Facebook at facebook.com/dsnutzdonuts.