Wilmington, NC: Bites & Sips – Dub’s Donuts the latest food truck to hit Wilmington

Doug and Whitney Johns own and operate the Dub's Donuts food trailer. Paul Stephen/StarNews

By Paul Stephen  |  Star News Online

Doug and Whitney Johns own and operate the Dub's  Donuts food trailer.  Paul Stephen/StarNews
Doug and Whitney Johns own and operate the Dub’s Donuts food
trailer. Paul Stephen/StarNews

Doug and Whitney Johns were made for the road.

They have a choice of Chevrolets — a classy 1957 Two-Ten or rugged and fully-restored 1986 Suburban. But rather than snuggling close on the former’s bench seat, more often than not, the two are hunkered down in one of two trailers hauled behind their prize rides.

Operators of the P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille mobile unit for several years now, the two rolled out a new venture last month with the debut of Dub’s Donuts. Specializing in freshly-fried cake doughnuts and organic, free trade coffees, Dub’s has already grabbed a loyal breakfast crowd at the Cape Fear Community College and PPD campuses.

“The reception has been bananas,” Doug Johns said. “I am so humbled by the people in Wilmington and how much they’ve embraced it. It’s just heartwarming.”

The latest entrant in a booming field of food trucks in the area, Dub’s offers more than 60 flavors of doughnuts with four or five on the menu on any given day. Maple bacon has been the runaway hit, while other versions featuring crumbled bits of popular candy bars also draw a crowd. Each inventive offering begins with a scratch-made doughnut fried in canola oil based on a recipe Johns has fine tuned for speed and consistency.

It’s unlikely there’s a couple in the area better suited for the gig. For years they’ve operated a waffle truck at fairs and carnivals across the state, and the P.T.’s truck has become a fan favorite on the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus. Demand for sweets from burger customers inspired the new business, which also sells funnel cakes and the aforementioned waffles, although in unconventional flavors like red velvet and gingerbread.

The kitchen is surprisingly productive, featuring a 32-inch 85,000 BTU fryer crammed into a tiny 10-by-6-foot space. One of the first things customers might notice is a stopwatch, a steady heartbeat keeping Johns on task. Clockwork, Johns said, is among the many keys to delivering a superior product. Fresh batches of dough require a specific amount of rest after mixing before frying, one of several factors that can undermine a doughnut’s journey to maximum deliciousness.

Wilmington’s food truck scene has expanded rapidly in recent months, the retro diner-styled Dub’s Donuts just one of many to enter a crowded marketplace. While the competition is stiff, Doug Johns said a focus on fundamentals has helped his new outfit crack the code.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people that try to get into the food truck industry have aspirations of cooking things that are too complicated to get out the window in 20 seconds.” Johns said. “You’re looking at an 8-9 hour day just to prepare for a lunch event. It’s not a cheap venture and its definitely not an easy venture.”

Those challenges, however, are far from a deterrent. With breakfast and lunch already covered, all that’s left is provide a supper option.

“Who knows,” Johns said. “Maybe we’ll open a beef stew truck for dinner.”

Dub’s Donuts is also available to cater private events. To book team Johns for your next bash, email DubsDonuts@gmail.com or call 910-270-3702.