Grand Donuts keeps customers happy with old-fashioned recipes
By Rachel Madison
The smell alone is enough to draw you into Grand Donuts, along with the promise of freshly-made donuts, kolaches, breakfast tacos and more. And with 20 years of experience under his belt, Ty Heng, owner of Grand Donuts, knows a thing or two about making quality food.
Heng and his family are originally from Cambodia. He immigrated straight to Texas from there in 2000.
“The economics over there were not good for us, so we decided to move to the U.S.,” he said. “When I came to the United States, my uncle trained me to be a baker and donut seller.”
For a couple of years, Heng trained with his uncle, who had his own chain of donut shops.
“It took a lot of training,” he said. “It took one to two years to completely learn everything. We were working every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
In 2007, Heng opened his own donut shop, under the name Super Donut, in Cedar Park. Next came a shop in Leander, and then in 2009, a third shop opened in Cedar Park and a fourth opened in Leander.
“We have family come over from Cambodia and we train them, and then once they are ready, we let them run and manage it themselves,” he said. “We train people for one to two years on making and selling donuts before they’re experienced enough to run the business.”
In 2010, Heng expanded his business to Austin, and then in 2011, to San Antonio. The name was still Super Donut then. While several Super Donut locations are still around Central Texas, the ones Heng specifically owns are now called Grand Donuts. He has 11 locations, including Liberty Hill, as well as others in Austin, Cedar Park, Leander and San Antonio.
Heng’s family and friends run all of the Grand Donuts and Super Donut locations. Grand Donuts is run by Heng and his wife, Sochenda Pheau; his sister, Theary Lay and her husband, Wilson Lay; and his other sister, Srun Cheng Chann and her husband, Chenglun Kong.
“We expand our business when family comes [from Cambodia],” he said. “We immigrate one by one. My sister and I came in 2000, and then my other sister came later on. Several other cousins and family have come, too. My uncle trained us, so we are really a family-generated business. It took us a long time to get to where we could own the business ourselves.”
Heng said he chose to open his newest location in Liberty Hill, which opened last September, because of the growing market and population.
“We decided to open a shop here about four years ago,” he said. “The population is going up, and we knew we had a lot of customers from Liberty Hill coming to our Leander store. We wanted to expand here. The location is good and we are very steady with business here.”
Heng said he and his family are always working to make sure customers have the best experience in Grand Donuts.
“We correct what we need to correct and make it better,” he said. “We want to provide quality services and quality food. Our main goal is making sure the food is fresh and really good, so our customers will always come back. We guarantee our products are all freshly made.”
Heng and his staff arrive at Grand Donuts daily around 3 a.m. to start the donut making process. The first thing they do is make their donut and kolache dough from scratch, which takes about two hours from start to finish, he said. Around 5 a.m., they start to fry the donuts and get the first batches out for the first customers of the day. Donuts are continuously made until around 10 a.m. to keep the shop fully stocked as customers come by.
“We only make a certain amount of donuts each day, because all of our items are one-day sale,” Heng said. “Sometimes we’ll be short an item, but it’s usually just that item and we have more of everything else.”
Besides donuts, Grand Donuts also sells a variety of kolaches, breakfast tacos and beverages.
The most popular kolache Heng sells is the sausage and cheese kolache, which he says is all about the bread they make in house daily. He added that the fruit kolaches are also popular and come in a variety of flavors, like raspberry, strawberry, lemon, apple and cream cheese.
The most popular donuts are the glazed and the chocolate donuts, because they are simple and flavorful, Heng said.
“The dough we make is a special recipe that is soft and fluffy,” he said. “The ingredients aren’t special, but the way we make it is. You can find sweet donuts anywhere, but our bread is what makes our donuts different.”
Heng added that Grand Donuts’ offerings stick to old-fashioned favorites.
“We don’t upgrade with fancy things; we stick to the old-fashioned recipes,” he said. “We have a few special flavors, like our pink donut, which is a cherry-strawberry mix, but we keep things original as much as we can.”
In the future, Heng hopes to open more Grand Donuts locations, but he doesn’t have any plans in the works. For now, he is working on making sure Liberty Hill customers are happy and want to keep coming back for more.
“Hopefully our customers like us,” he said. “Come in and let us know good or bad—I want to know. We try the best we can, and we are always going to be improving.”
Grand Donuts is located at 14125 W. State Hwy. 29 in Liberty Hill in the Water Tower Center. The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.