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Donut King's return has customers lined up

After almost a six-week hiatus, Lou King is back in the kitchen and making the doughnuts at beloved West Des Moines institution Donut King. Coconut, sprinkles, long Johns and cinnamon twists all returned to the cases in the tiny doughnut shop King closed after breaking his hip when he stubbed his toe on a curb and fell.

Wednesday, vehicles lined the parking lot and customers filled the chairs and bar stools as a line formed for orders of cinnamon rolls and chocolate frosted doughnuts. A big banner in the window Tuesday announced the reopening of the store, located at 220 Grand Ave.

“I didn’t have anyone trained to do it,” King says about shuttering the business while he recovered. “I hurt a lot yesterday. The doctor didn’t recommend that I come back to work so soon.”

But return he did, arriving at 11:30 p.m. the night before to lift sacks of flour, fry dough and stuff doughnuts with creams.

Pat Camp, King’s girlfriend, helps him run the business.

“We were swamped,” Camp said of the reopening Tuesday. “And as the word gets out that we’re open again, we’ll be busy for a while.” The store’s regulars have returned, too, she said. “Everybody’s happy,” she said.

King, who opened the business in 1973, raised a couple of prices during the hiatus, but things are the same as before the closure, Camp said.

“Are these fresh doughnuts or leftovers from six weeks ago?” one customer said as he waited in line.

“They’re old,” King joked back. “But the coffee’s fresh. I need it to make the doughnuts.”

The Donut King is open 5 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call 515-274-9892 or find it on Facebook.