My favorite place in Dublin series: The Rolling Donut

Sunniva Batalden

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Whether you have been here for a week, 3 years or lived here your entire life, there’s one thing all Dubs have in common. A favorite place. The Circular has taken a closer look at 5 students answers when asked the question, what Dublin pearl do you hold dearest? 

Presented from the Student Handbook, these answers are meant for newcomers in town with a goal of pulling away from tourist traps. This is the third article in a series of 5 student favorite places, so be sure to check in each week for a new piece.

Number 3) 

Name: Clarisse  Sankoff

Age: 22

Field of study: Master in Criminal law

Favourite place: The Rolling Donut 

The Rolling Donut is where I went there for breakfast on Mondays before Uni to motivate myself.

The Rolling Doughnut in Liffey Valley. Photo: Sunniva Batalden
The Rolling Donut in O’Connell Street. Photo: Sunniva Batalden

The Rolling Donut offers a variety of different flavors, designs, and textures to find your favorite doughnut. Perhaps the most well-scented place in the city, and a family business at heart.

The brand first started out as a  concession, appearing outside concert halls, in the late 70’s. Its founder, Michael Quinlan, created the company after a trip to London that would serve as inspiration. Today his daughters, Lisa and Aimee, are continuing their fathers legacy after spending their childhood well familiar with the creation of doughnuts.

 

The Rolling Doughnut in Liffey Valley. Photo: Sunniva Batalden
The Rolling Donut in O’Connell Street. Photo: Sunniva Batalden

In an interview with Lisa, she explains how the brand came to be.

“My father started doing festivals and events under the name the Rolling Donut for many years, and that’s where the name came originally came from. When I got involved in the family business full time about 8 years ago I decided it was time to call our little kiosk “The Rolling Donut” as everyone only ever knew it as the tiny doughnut place on O’Connell Street.”

“At the same time I did this I gave the business a brand and a website and things started to snowball from there. My dad was amazed at how many people loved his doughnuts and wanted to buy them for weddings and corporate events.”

 

I want to create a real destination for family and friends when popping into the shop! Even at the kiosk! When I worked there over the years I got such a buzz off customers coming up and telling me how their granny or mum and dad used to bring them here to buy fresh donuts as kids. My dad loves hearing this as well ! It makes it very nostalgic!

Today the Quinlan family team reaches Dublin borders with a total of  5 shops running and a staff of over 70 people, including the other family businesses such as The Wildflower Cafe, located in Ratoath Garden Centre and a cafeteria in a Malahide secondary school.

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The Rolling Doughnut in Liffey Valley. Photo: Sunniva Batalden
Though the looking glass: A variety of different flavours is seen in the shop windows. Photo: Sunniva Batalden
What would be your main policy and approach to customers? 
“We always try to make sure customers are made feel 100% welcome at our stores and have the best possible experience when choosing our doughnuts. The staff really get behind the brand and our story too, and I think if the staff are having fun they will make it enjoyable for the customers as well.”

So far you have 5 shops around in Dublin. Are there any plans for expanding the business further, either in Dublin or outside? 

“Two years ago I made a point of going after bigger locations where we could have a variety of sourdough and vegan doughnuts. This was the best move we ever made as a business. People really got behind the brand and loved the story as they know we have been in the business for years and we eat sleep and breath it.”

Clarisse Sankoff outside her favorite place.
Clarisse Sankoff outside her favorite doughnut place. Photo: Sunniva Batalden

 

“I think Dublin and Ireland have most definitely had a spurt in doughnut shops over the last few years, so no we are very happy with the locations we have so far. However, we are looking to expand overseas.”

How do you feel competition is going, compared to your own shop? 

“I feel there are some competitors out there doing great things but we always like to pride ourselves in having that little something different to what the others have. Be it our ingredients, unusual flavors or vegan doughnuts.”

The Rolling Doughnut in Liffey Valley. Photo: Sunniva Batalden
Facade: Perky blue and yellow colors light up the entrance to the doughnut shop. Photo: Sunniva Batalden

 

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Sunniva Batalden