Bootlegger to Dentist to Baker: D’arts Donuts Journey to Eastown

Bootlegger to Dentist to Baker: D’arts Donuts Journey to Eastown

Aspiring dentist turned donut baker: that’s Adam Ouellette, owner of D’arts Donuts.

“I went from wanting to save teeth to rotting them,” Ouellette joked.

This first-time business owner broke into the Grand Rapids bakery scene by starting the D’arts Donuts food truck in June of 2015. To his surprise, business boomed and grew faster than expected. Ouellette quickly realized adding a retail store was near in sight.

Now opening a more permanent home nestled in Eastown Grand Rapids, D’arts Donuts is a hip new hang out serving creative and unique hand-crafted donuts and Madcap coffee. Currently open with limited hours, 6:30 AM to noon., D’arts Donuts hopes to expand hours as the customer base builds.

D'arts Donuts - The Awesome Mitten
Owner Adam Ouellette
Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Syswerda

Ouellette discovered the storefront while walking with his dog, D’artagnan, whom he named the business after.

“D’artagnan is my best friend. He has been with me through it all… One day my wife and I were walking D’artagnan when we noticed a leasing sign in the window.”

1444 Lake Drive seemed like a perfect fit.

“I live nearby and love the neighborhood!”

D'arts Donuts - The Awesome Mitten
D’arts Donuts
1444 Lake Dr. Eastown
Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Syswerda

So, how does an aspiring dentist turn into a popular pastry chef?

You could say baking is in Ouellette’s blood. His super secret recipe dates back to his great-grandparents who lived in Canada during prohibition. As a bootlegger, his great-grandfather would travel through the Erie Canal to the United States are far as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His great-grandmother would lovingly bake and stock the ship with donuts to last him the entire trip!

Ouellette still uses his math and science skills in his new career path. He explained the science behind baking requires the ability to balance equations and understand chemical reactions.

After years of experimenting in the kitchen, today, Ouellette carries on the tradition by incorporating his family’s Berlin yeast stone recipe with made-from-scratch glazes and whole ingredients. Unlike chains and some other bakeries, each donut is hand-rolled, cut and flipped. D’arts Donuts utilizes fresh and local ingredients instead of flavoring extracts and preservatives.

D’arts Donuts works with Michigan companies such as Madcap Coffee and Ferris Coffee and Nut Roasters as well local farms for honey, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, and more!

D'arts Donuts - The Awesome Mitten
D’arts Donuts & Madcap Coffee
Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Syswerda

“We try our best to support the local economy… It’s great how excited other small businesses are to work with us. It’s a refreshing sense of community.”

D’arts Donuts will offer 10 to 13 rotating donut flavors daily and is working towards expanding their menu to include more breakfast and add lunch items with a donut twist. The deliciously dense donut flavors include triple berry, mocha, Neapolitan, Nutella crunch, black tea infusion, peach pecan, and whiskey bacon.

“Our most popular donut is the whiskey bacon. It is for the adventurous eater. Many people have described it as the best donut they’ve ever had… My favorite flavor is peanut butter and jelly. It brings me back to my childhood.”

Whether you are craving classic comfort food or desire a daring flavor, D’arts Donuts has something for you. Stop by D’arts Donuts in Eastown or find them making the rounds in West Michigan in their food truck.

To learn more about D’arts Donuts store, food truck and private catering events, follow them on their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

What’s your favorite donut flavor? What are your family food traditions and recipes?