As a High Street late-night staple, Buckeye Donuts has had the Ohio State campus going nuts for donuts since 1969. Now, from the back of a new 20-foot long mobile kitchen, this Columbus destination is ready to hit the road.
“We are going to mix it up,” Jimmy Barouxis, third-generation owner of Buckeye Donuts, said. “The truck gives us the chance to kind of experiment to try new products out, like things that we cannot really do here, that are harder to do here, we can do in the truck.”
The trailer, which Barouxis described as a “restaurant on wheels,” is outfitted with a grill, deep fryer, sandwich station and a “donut robot,” which produces cake donuts.
“We mix the dough, we put the dough in a hopper, and it pumps out the dough in the oil. It is like a little river of oil, and it is like a conveyor belt,” Barouxis said. “The donuts go down the line and then it flips it, it keeps going down the river of oil, then it flips it again out into a bucket and then we prep it from there.”
Barouxis said Buckeye Donuts plans to serve many of the same menu items offered in its brick-and-mortar store, such as breakfast sandwiches, gyros, french fries, tater tots and of course, donuts.
“We are going to start off with the mini donuts first and have about five or six flavors. They are easy to do different flavors because they are small, so you can just throw them in the powders, ” Barouxis said. “They are smaller than the ones we have here, but we are also going to do some of the regular sized ones, too.”
A variety of donut flavors — including the store’s specialty Buckeye donut with chocolate and peanut butter, blueberry, devil’s food cake, cinnamon powdered and other favorites — will also be available in mini- and full-size, Barouxis said. He added that mini donut prices are set to be around $3 for a half-dozen and $5 for a dozen.
Work on the Buckeye Donuts trailer began in March 2014, and the final touches were wrapped up about two weeks ago, Barouxis said, adding that now it just comes down to finding the right location. The current plan is for the trailer to open by mid-June.
“Now we are looking at different locations and the logistics of it and just to get the ball rolling,” he said. “We would like to get a spot on Lane Avenue, specifically on Saturdays.”
Barouxis said he thinks the mobile kitchen will be a valuable arena in which to develop new ideas and test how they are received.
“Twenty percent of the products I would say are going to be new things that we do not have here, so we are going to see how it goes,” he said.
The Buckeye Donuts trailer is comparable to a “blank canvas,” Barouxis said, and is something that he thinks will fit well into the Columbus food scene.
“The thing I know about Columbus, and I grew up here my whole life, is that especially in the last 20 years, people in Columbus are open to new things,” he said. “They are risk-takers, which is perfect for us, for this venture.”