Zionsville Mom Opens Made-to-Order Donut Shop
Photography provided by Michael Durr & Donut Refinery
Stephany Steiner, owner of Donut Refinery, 12525 Old Meridian Street, Carmel, says the inspiration for her new donut shop came from a favorite vacation spot.
“The idea for Donut Refinery came from a little donut truck that my family and I visit in Florida,” Steiner says. “We have been going to Rosemary, Seacrest Beach for the past seven years. We go there several times a year, and there is a donut truck called Charlie’s Donut Truck in Alys Beach. Each morning my kiddos and I wake up early (because they sell out of the good donuts fast), hop on our bikes and peddle the half mile to the truck.”
Steiner, a Zionsville resident, says that it became a favorite part of the vacation.
“My kiddos look forward to this each day on vacation,” Steiner says. “My husband, Eric, and I love taking the kids on vacation and making memories. I loved the idea, the memories it gave us, and we thought Indy needed this.”
Steiner put her own spin on the donut shop with both a unique design and a different concept.
“My best friend, Sara Weinschrott, is an amazing interior designer with Sara Rose Designs,” Steiner says. “She took all of the ideas in my head, put them on paper and organized them for me, so our contractor had something to work with.”
Steiner has done her homework.
“I wanted to offer the warm, fresh made-to-order donut to customers,” she says. “After doing my four years of research of the perfect donut, I learned there is nothing much better than a warm, fresh donut. The biggest test is if my kids liked a particular donut from all the places I did research on. If they didn’t like the taste, I knew there was a problem.”
Steiner looked at several potential locations for about a year before deciding on Carmel.
“We had lots of criteria that had to be met in a location,” Steiner says. “It was difficult finding one location that checked all of my boxes. In the end, Carmel checked all the boxes. We love the area, the new infrastructure and the amount of growth happening here is incredible.”
Donut Refinery had its grand opening May 5 and has received a warm welcome from the community.
“The community has been amazing,” Steiner says. “I have to say I am blown away by all the positive feedback. I never could have imagined the response. I get emails, Facebook and Instagram messages daily telling us how good and fresh our donuts are. I would not expect for a single person to reach out and tell me that. It blows me away every time I log into one of my accounts and read things like that.”
Steiner says the “build your own donut” concept has been such a big hit with guests, she is already planning two future locations.
“We wanted each customer to feel special and feel like each donut is his or her own creation,” Steiner says. “I see so many kids who are so excited and wide-eyed the first time they come in.”
Donut Refinery’s most popular donut is The Maple Bacon.
“The next most popular is The Chocolate Sprinkles, followed by The Blueberry Glaze (which is a special item not on the menu),” Steiner says. “I announce it on our Instagram page when we make them.”
Steiner’s favorite donut is glaze with cinnamon powder and blueberry glazed.
Steiner says guests can also rent the Donut Refinery space for private events on Sundays, “and we added weekdays as well to keep up with the demand.”
Steiner adds that she has been pleased with how The Donut Refinery has been received because it was a long road from concept to success.
“I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past eight years, raising three little ones,” Steiner says. “I worked on this concept for four, long years before I took the plunge.
“My husband keeps me grounded,” she adds. I wanted to open four years ago. He had me do the research required to succeed in this business. It seems so fun to open a donut shop, but it is so much more than that. On a side note, my husband doesn’t eat any sugar. So he has only eaten about three donuts so far — mostly because I forced him. He admitted to me the blueberry glaze was amazing. That’s a lot coming from him.”
Donut Refinery is located at 12525 Old Meridian Street in Carmel. You can give them a call at 317-669-2996 or visit them online at facebook.com/TheDonutRefinery.