The Work We Do: Jimmy Lyons, North Fork Doughnut Company

My name is Jimmy Lyons. My wife and I own North Fork Doughnut Company. We’ve been open for roughly a year and a half now.

I used to work in the beer world, so I jumped from one fermentation to another. Out in California, I saw all these small, mom-and-pop doughnut shops popping up all over the place. Coming back to Long Island, I realized that there wasn’t anything like that here.

My wife, Kelly has been an avid baker for most of her life; her mother was a baker as well. When she passed away, Kelly and her siblings made a book of all her recipes, so we would make doughnuts at home using her recipe, tweaking it here and there.

We decided one day that we wanted to do something other than our jobs at the time and the rest is history. It took a lot to get it from our kitchen at home to the commercial kitchen here, a lot of trial and error.

A typical day for us is getting here at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning and starting our mix. After the dough is done doubling, we punch it down, roll it out, let it rest for a little while, make our cuts and proof them. A lot of this is by sight and by feel. We get them right to that point where they’re nice and fluffy and then put them into the fryer. 

All of our doughnuts are our yeast-based doughnuts and we have a wide variety on a daily basis of all different kinds of flavors. We have the O.G.s [original gangstas]: the chocolate, vanilla, strawberry with sprinkles. We can’t deviate from that, it’s doughnut history.

The glazed is my favorite. If you go to a pizzeria, our glazed doughnut is like our cheese slice. If the cheese slice isn’t good, the rest of the pizza can’t be good. So that’s our barometer for the rest of them.

If you look around out here, you’ll see a bunch of amazing businesses. Really compelling ideas, awesome food, great cocktails, good beer. We wanted to jump into a place that we could grow with. Hopefully, we’ve become a mainstay that people, when they think of the North Fork, they want to come out here and try our doughnuts. 

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork.