If you live in Renton, you’ve likely heard of Chuck’s Donut Shop. It has been a staple of society (and beyond!) serving delicious cakes for nearly 50 years and the number is growing.
Sing Phon is the current owner and bought Chuck’s back in 1998, “I love being a positive part of morning people. Being able to meet and interact with clients is what I love so much about owning a Chuck.”
“The old-fashioned goes perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning,” Vaughn said. “The best sellers are maple bars and apple pies.”
And for good reason, they are melt in your mouth good taste.
The maple stripe is a standout option, with its creamy maple frosting. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. These reviews from Chuck customers speak for themselves:
“It’s all about the unique maple frosting. I’ve taken them to work, and everyone is asking where in the world these wonderful cupcakes are” — Meryl Brandt
“All I can say is that as a master of maple bars. I’ve never had a better chuck. The perfect amount of delicious maple frosting on a slab of goodness that takes me to heaven with every delicious life an affirmation bite.” – Tom Glasgow
“To this day (at about 40, when I go to Renton to visit family, my mom usually has a couple of maple bars in a container waiting for me.” — Aaron O’Dell
“I’ve been going to Chuck’s since elementary school and now I take my kids there. I also buy 5 dozen cupcakes a month to share with the staff and teachers at my kids’ school.” – Jackie Cavens
“Chuck’s spoiled me for the other cakes. When Krispy Kreme came to Issaquah years ago, there was a big bang. It only lasted for a week, and then we were all more loyal to Chuck than ever.” – Jimmy Jones
I grew up within walking distance of Chuck’s myself, and the nearby Hop In Grocery and Cake Shop became a part of my childhood. A common theme when talking about Chuck is the nostalgia that comes with it.
Kyle Walsh grew up in Renton, “My grandfather used to walk to Chuck every morning on holidays and weekends and drive there once he got older. He and his friends were talking at the maple bar and coffee at five or six in the morning A picture of him was plastered on the wall at The entrance to the old building before the demolition and reconstruction of what exists today.”
“My grandfather, of course, used to bring donuts home,” Walsh said. “I, too, developed a love for Chuck’s maple bars because of his donut weekend rides.”
Journey down memory lane
Chuck’s remains a family owned business with a series of different owners. But the original owner named Chuck O’Neil actually built the cake shop with his own hands, from the ground up, with the help of family and the community.
Troy Crum is O’Neill’s grandson and grew up helping out at the original store, “I called him Pa. I remember spending time in the kitchen with him learning how to cook and bake, and make chocolate and desserts.”
When O’Neill opened Chuck’s in the early 1970s, it was actually a retirement venture, “My grandfather worked as a bakery salesman. He was well known in the baking community and when he retired, he decided to open Chuck.”
According to Crum, the original donut recipes we all loved came from Chuck himself, “When my grandfather sold Chuck, he made one thing clear: Whoever bought the famous donut shop should stick to the original recipes.”
O’Neill was a lovable grandfather to Crum, “Not only did he teach me how to cook, which I must say I’m really great at, but he also taught me how to play poker. On Sundays, he would host family dinners, not just for the family, but for the neighborhood as well.”
Chuck’s has made some improvements but has remained in the same location over the years. It is a special place where memories continue to be made and cake enjoyed.
“I’m sure my grandfather would have a great sense of pride in his legacy,” Crum said.
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Kate Nedge is a freelance lifestyle writer for the Seattle Refined. See more of her work on Instagram here.