Renovated donut shop rounds into shape

By Updated: October 25, 2018 3:58 PM CT | Published: October 23, 2018 12:53 PM CT

An incoming donut shop seems poised to add to the city’s whimsical, kitsch architecture and signage, in the tradition of the rotating Sputnik at Joe’s Wines & Liquor, the flashing neon at Gibson's Donuts and the long-gone Pop Tunes dancing neon musical notes.

The future shop at 1776 Union Ave. features a corner patio so round that it mimics the donuts to be made and sold inside. 

In case there’s any doubt about the circular symbolism, a giant donut-shaped sign will be installed atop the patio, according to an architectural rendering provided by landlord Loeb Properties.

Peter Warren is the architect, and Grinder, Taber & Grinder is the contractor.

The building's curved edges and donut-shaped patio may conjure up memories of one of the city's most renowned examples of roadside architecture:  Lamar Ave.'s Big Shoe, a shoe store made to look like a giant shoe.

There's a bit of mimetic architecture -- in which the building's design mimics the building's function -- in the new Midtown project. 

However, the image of the donut shop is an early rendering and Loeb is still working with business owner Ly Touch on the details, Loeb’s marketing vice president Ciara Neill said in an email to The Daily Memphian.

The new business will be constructed in the old Donald’s Donuts building, but the Donald’s owner is no longer involved at the site.

“We are in the process of bringing this fun project online and are working closely with owner Ly Touch as we add final architectural details, including neon accents and iconic signage,’’ Neill said.

In its own way, the architecture seems to do  something similar to what the design of the new Kroger grocery did directly across Union: Take advantage of the striking, Gothic architecture of neighboring Idlewild Presbyterian Church.

Kroger framed the stone church with a large window so that customers and employees can enjoy a view of it. The donut shop’s round patio is placed where customers can look up and across South Auburndale at the church as well as the street life along Union.

"This retro-modern building works with the Midtown Overlay to bring the shop forward to the sidewalk, engaging with pedestrians and inviting in the community,'' Neill said, referring to special zoning designed to make Midtown a safer and more appealing place to walk.

"It was important to us that the renovation address the street particularly since the building has such pedestrian-friendly neighbors, including Idlewild Presbyterian Church and the new Kroger,'' she said.

"Outdoor seating includes two patios, one of which is integrated under the round canopy to the west,'' Neill said.

The patio and canopy on the east side of the building is semi-round.


Restaurants Commercial Real Estate donuts Loeb Properties
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey covers business news for The Daily Memphian. A Tupelo, Mississippi, native, he graduated from Mississippi State University. He's worked in journalism for 40 years and has lived in Midtown for 36 years.

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