Clovis Donuts keeps turning out tasty pastries by using ingredients like bacon, Fruity Pebbles and ice cream.
Owner Dy Hin calls them his gourmet creations. Since opening the shop in 2011, he has introduced four of them to go along with his traditional donuts.
First, it was the bacon maple bar — a salty-sweet combination featuring a strip of everyone’s favorite breakfast meat.
Next came a sliced donut with fresh fruit in the middle.
Then it was the croissant donut.
“It resembles a donut, but the texture, flakiness and flavor capture the essence of a croissant,” Hin said. He makes them fresh every day, and toppings include popular cereals like Fruity Pebbles.
Hin calls his latest gourmet creation an “oohweebun” — a warm donut with ice cream pressed in between, and customized with toppings and fillings, as requested. The oohweebun made its debut earlier this month.
Hin promotes the gourmet pastries so his shop — located on the northeast corner of Ashlan and Fowler avenues at 1835 E. Ashlan Ave. — stands out.
It appears to be working.
“People see our pictures on Instagram and Facebook, and they come in and request what they’ve seen,” he said. “Some of them drive far.”
Hin’s croissant donuts created buzz in the last year. He was inspired by the Cronut, a croissant-donut pastry invented by Chef Dominque Ansel in New York City.
A croissant donut from Clovis Donuts is a singular sensation with unlimited possibilities.
“There are thousands of possible combinations,” Hin said of how different fruit, whipped cream, fillings and toppings can be used on croissant donuts.
Slice one in half and the fun begins.
What fruit do you want? Strawberries? Kiwis? Blackberries or blueberries? Hin offers them all.
And whipped cream? There’s plain, pistachio and hazelnut, plus mint, chocolate cream cheese and other flavors, too.
Hin might add chocolate, vanilla, maple or other icings and finish off with powdered sugar, coconut flakes, candy or cereals such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Lucky Charms.
If a customer wants a custom-made croissant donut and has several minutes to wait, Hin will whip it up in the shop’s kitchen.
Croissant donuts sell for between $3.25 and $4. Oohweebuns start at $3.75 and vary according to how many toppings are added. Traditional pastries range from 85 cents to $1.50.
It’s not an overstatement to call Clovis Donuts an immigrant family’s success story.
In 1981, Hin’s parents came to the United States from Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge regime killed an estimated two million people in the Southeast Asia nation.
The Hins originally settled in Salt Lake City — where Dy was born — and later came to Fresno. Both his parents and his wife’s parents found work in local donut shops.
Hin said Cambodians run many of the independently-owned donut shops in California.
“It was an easy business to get into that didn’t require a lot of fluency in English and could be family run,” he said.
Hin graduated from Central East High School in 2002, worked for the U.S. Postal Service and later earned an associate degree before deciding to open Clovis Donuts.
“I thought I could excel, and it would pay dividends quickly,” he said.
Hin learned about making donuts from his father-in-law, who had learned from Hin’s uncle.
“It’s a tight-knit community,” Hin said.
Passing knowledge that way is how many Cambodians tried to get ahead in the United States.
“They hired and trained other Cambodians, and families saved their money and went into business for themselves,” he said. “It all just trickled down.”
The help continues. Relatives of Hin and his wife, Lena, work at Clovis Donuts.
Dy and Lena put in long hours.
“My wife and I figured we would work hard today, and our kids would be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors,” he said.
The couple has two sons, ages 3 and 9 months.
Cris Hernandez has been a customer from Day One at Clovis Donuts. She buys 10 to 12 dozen donuts a week to share with co-workers in the Materials Management Department at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.
Hernandez’s favorite is the bacon maple bar, and she also enjoys the croissant donuts with whipped cream, icing and other sweet ingredients.
Hernandez praises the customer service at Clovis Donuts, and, she added, Dy Hin has delivered donuts to CRMC when she couldn’t come into the shop.
Clovis Donuts is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to noon. The shop plans to expand its hours, and customers can go to facebook.com/ClovisDonuts for details. The phone number is (559) 292-5555.
Dining with Doug appears every other week in the Independent. We welcome suggestions from restaurant owners and customers about eateries to feature in the future. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.