It’s 8:15am on a very hot July morning, and there are at least forty people lined up along the sidewalk waiting to get a freshly baked handmade donut from the tiny Carolina Beach shop that’s been piling on accolades online and in print.
Britt’s Donuts opened in 1939 at the Carolina Beach boardwalk and has served its magic sweetness every summer since then. They make one kind of glazed donut. No sprinkles, no fillings. In their tiny space, about fifteen seats, they serve donuts, coffee, and milk.
Opening day in early spring is always a challenge to the staff. People from across the state and out-of-state are lined up around the building participating in what has become a major event: the first Britt’s donut of the season. They’re open only on weekends until school gets out—and tourist season begins—when they begin week long operations.
Just this year, the donuts have been praised as best in the country by PureWow.com. In that list they beat out establishments offering a wide array of much fancier choices from South Carolina to Oregon.
Customers can order one donut or dozens, but regulars scoff at anyone who would order just one. Most customers walk away with a bag full or two or three. It’s $1 for one or $8.50 for a dozen. Just makes sense to order more.
Britt’s may be the only donut in the world to have its own fan club. Merchandise, including stickers and a book published to commemorate the establishment’s 75th anniversary in 2014, are available on the site.
Britt’s was started in 1939 by Harvey Lewis Britt and friends. The carefully guarded recipe and process for hand-making the donuts has not changed, even with the change in ownership in 1974 to long-time employee Bobby Nivens whose family—including wife Maxine, daughter Lynn and granddaughter Hayln—has operated it ever since. Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of local teenagers have enjoyed their summer jobs at the shop.
Britt’s is located on the newly reconstructed Carolina Beach Boardwalk, named the third-best boardwalk in the country in the USA Today voter’s poll for 2016.
If you haven’t had your Britt’s for the year, you’d better hurry. Daily operation ceases when school starts, and weekend operation ceases whenever the family decides to take a break until the next spring.
SEE MORE “BRITT’S DONUTS” PHOTOS HERE