One of Tehachapi's oldest doughnut shops will celebrate 20 years in the cruller business.
Tea Donuts, located at 807 Tucker Road, Suite B, will embrace the milestone with new owners, John Pe and Chantha Lay, a father and daughter team. The family took over the business at the beginning of the year.
"We have been coming here for at least 15 years," said Vickie Jones, a longtime and loyal customer.
For the past couple of years, she and her husband, Bob, have been going to Tea Donuts every morning, except for Sundays. Asked what's their favorite doughnut variety, Bob said the apple fritter, hands down, with Vickie preferring the chocolate chip roll — however, the glazed old fashion is a close second.
In addition to the tried and true favorites, Pe and Lay now offer a selection of new varieties, including turnovers, cronuts (which is a fried croissant popular on the East Coast), chocolate chip rolls and ham and cheese croissants. Added to the doughnut variety are blueberry doughnuts and an assortment of twists.
"We are bringing all new recipes over here," said Lay.
Tea's Donuts also offers smoothies in addition to coffee and tea beverages.
Both father and daughter live in Bakersfield, and travel to Tehachapi in shifts every day to run the store. Pe arrives late each evening and cooks throughout the night to prepare for the 4 a.m. opening of the doughnut store the following day. Lay says she drives up the mountain late each morning to relieve her father, who then travels back to Bakersfield to look after the family's other store, Foster’s Donut, located at 4128 Chester Ave., #A1, before getting some much-needed rest, only to start the rotation all over again.
"Everybody bakes in my family … mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin … even the little ones," said Lay, whose son, Andrew, 8, has shown an interest in taking over the business when he gets older.
Asked about the secret to the longevity of their doughnut shop in Bakersfield, which has been producing for the past 15 years, Lay laughs and says, "A lot of love … and dedication."
Her father said he first learned how to make doughnuts when he was working for Winchell's Donuts more than 30 years ago.
"I try to come up with new things," said Pe. "Right now, I have a new recipe for apple fritters, ham and cheese and hot links."
Tea Donuts is currently offering a special, buy one dozen and get two doughnuts free. The store is open from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.