First Duck Donuts location in the metro set to open at Ranchmart in Leawood Saturday

Duck Donuts gives customers the option to customize their toppings on hot donuts.

During a trip to visit her brother in Charlotte, N.C., a few years ago, Katie and Ryan McNeil headed to the area Duck Donut store — and fell in love.

“It’s not very often you can find a truly fresh, hot donut that’s just been made,” he said. “We were used to having to show up before sunrise to get the good donuts.”

The shop is at Ranchmart North.
Ryan had worked in advertising his whole career and Katie is an esthetician, so the couple had no experience in the food industry. But they couldn’t shake the idea that Kansas City would respond well to the concept, which had fresh donuts coming off the line all day long, and gives customers the opportunity to customize their toppings , from traditional icing and sprinkles to more adventurous fare like crumbled bacon and marshmallow drizzle.

“Ryan and I came back to Kansas City, and we just thought this concept would kill it here,” Katie said.

On Saturday, the duo’s dreams of bringing Duck Donuts to KC will become reality. Their first Duck Donut franchise opens Sunday at Ranchmart, in part of the former Seasonal Concepts space.

The McNeils said they looked at locations throughout the metro, but ultimately decided that north Leawood — just a mile from their house — was the right spot. With the closure of other local donut shops in recent years, there was an opening in the market.

“It was one of the initial spots we thought of, but we really did look all over,” Katie said. “It was pretty obvious there was hole here that we could fill.”

In addition to hot, made-to-order donuts, the shop will over custom coffee drinks — and some specialty fare. They serve up ice cream sundaes with a hot donut at the base. And a savory breakfast sandwich with a donut in the place of an English muffin.

“Bacon egg and cheese on a donut sounds crazy – and it’s absolutely delicious,” Ryan said.

And unlike many donut shops, Duck Donuts stays open well past noon. The store hours are 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.

“It’s a great place to head for a sweet treat as a family in the summer,” Ryan said.

As part of their franchising agreement, the McNeils will open two additional locations in the Kansas City metro by 2020. The sites of those shops have yet to be determined.

Saturday is the Ranchmart location’s grand opening.