Running a donut shop naturally requires a lot of early mornings. As the proprietor of the popular establishment Dippity Donuts, Siv Chou is charged with helping the town’s early-morning risers get their days going by serving delectable donuts and strong coffee.
It’s a tall order, but it’s one she and her husband have lived up to for the past 36 years—and the results have certainly paid off.
For the past 15 years, Dippity has been selected by Dana Point Times readers as a finalist—Gold or Silver winner—for our Best of Dana Point People’s Choice Lantern Awards for Best Donuts. And this year marks the shop’s fourth consecutive Golden Lantern.
“We’re really happy, because we work hard, we’ve been here for a long time. We’re just happy that we get rewarded for what we do,” Chou says with a laugh.
Primi Donuts in Dana Point took home a Silver Lantern this year, its fourth consecutive.
Asked what has made Dippity stand out among the local competition, Chou boasts that it’s the high-quality products—which, she notes, have gotten really expensive as of late.
But, she adds, “We don’t change our ingredients; we use the same ingredients, and we make daily fresh donuts. That’s what customers like.”
What customers particularly enjoy at Dippity, Chou says, is the apple fritter.
“They love the apple fritter; we always sell out the most every day,” she says, adding: “Customers said we have the best in town, they like the apple fritter more than any other place. We do our regular—always been the same; we don’t change.”
According to Chou, the process of preparing and frying the shop’s daily batch of donuts starts at around midnight, when her donut maker clocks in.
“We make daily fresh (donuts), and by the end of the day, when we have leftovers, they go to senior citizens, AA meetings, and the church, the Calvary Chapel in Capo Beach,” she explains.
Fortunately for her, she handles the other aspects of the business and is able to get her workday started closer to the time the shop opens, at 5 a.m.
“I work the other end,” she says laughing. “I cook the food, sell the donuts. It’s not just donuts here; we have breakfast and lunch, sandwiches—the other end.”
One of the things Chou says she enjoys most about running the business is meeting a lot of new people.
“Every day is new, talking to different people, and old customers,” she says, before noting the unfortunate circumstance of running a business for many decades. “We have a lot of new (customers), but then a lot of old (ones) who are gone. A lot.”
It’ll be 36 years ago this month when Dippity first officially opened, replacing what was previously called Donut World. Chou’s brother-in-law had purchased it from the previous owners, and invited his brother, whom Chou had recently married, to help operate the local business, which was just one in a chain of other Dippitys.
“We live in Santa Ana, and my brother-in-law found this place, a place for us to work, so he set us up here,” Chou recalls. “He bought it from an American couple; back then, its name was Donut World. We changed it to Dippity Donuts because my brother-in-law, he had a chain.”
There are other Dippitys around California, but those are all owned separately from the Dana Point Dippity, says Chou, who immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia in 1979.
When she first arrived in the States, she lived in Washington state. She relocated to Orange County in 1985, when she and her husband got married. The two would later have a son, an electrical engineer who’s soon to be 30 years old.
Acknowledging that her son won’t be taking over the family business in the future, Chou reflects on the legacy she hopes the long-running eatery leaves behind.
“I hope when I sell my place, the next owner keeps doing the same thing we do, quality products,” she says. “Dana Point, they like our shop.”
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