News » Strokes & Plugs

D'oh! Nuts!

Everyone's guilty pleasure finds a new home in SLO



JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH :  Jacob Pickering’s new donut shop offers customers the opportunity to customize their donuts, maximizing taste bud pleasure. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH : Jacob Pickering’s new donut shop offers customers the opportunity to customize their donuts, maximizing taste bud pleasure.

Jacob Pickering, co-owner of the SLO Donut Company in San Luis Obispo, shared a few words of wisdom a close friend once told him: “Donuts are like porn: People may not admit to liking it, but sure enough, everyone enjoys it from time to time.” Seeing the words “donut” and “porn” in the same sentence is just about as odd as a donut shop that holds concerts, showcases artwork, and allows its customers to modify their tasty treats to maximize taste bud pleasure.

Located in the Foothill Shopping Center at the corner of Broad and Foothill, SLO Donut Company inhabits an expansive, well-lit space with high ceilings and art-covered walls. The smell of baking donuts permeates the space, accompanied by the faint scent of freshly cut lumber. To the right of the entrance sits a buffet of various donut toppings, an assortment of sprinkles and syrups. Donuts lie in rows beneath the glass of a rather large display case, and their toppings glisten tantalizingly under the lights. Among the spread of delicious, doughy morsels is a maple donut covered with a sprinkling of crispy bacon, a delicacy some might find appalling, while others would consider it a creation only God could put forth.

Pickering grew up in Atascadero and worked locally as general contractor specializing in residential building before getting into the donut business. He attributes his involvement in the industry to his wife, Jessie.

“I don’t know what it is, but every culture has their niche,” he said. “My wife’s culture is Cambodian, and that’s kinda their niche: donut shops. Almost all my wife’s sisters own donut shops, and her uncle owned a few in Morro Bay and in SLO as well. We just thought, ‘Why not us?’”

He cited the location as the deciding factor to enter the world of donuts, and he was able to put his carpentry skills to use for both the interior design and construction of the shop.

Sitting so close to Cal Poly, Pickering decided to design everything with students in mind. Using mostly reclaimed wood, he built large countertops and tables so students would be able to sprawl laptops, books, and papers without being cramped.

“I was in Starbucks one day, and I saw two girls standing back to back with their laptops studying. I thought to myself, ‘People need space,’” he explained, adding that he also wanted to make sure there was a speedy Wi-Fi connection and plenty of power as well.

Pickering believes there’s a lot of artistic talent in the area, including photographers, musicians, and artists, and he hopes they’ll use his shop as a venue to display their work. He routinely hosts concerts.

SLO Donut Company is open 24 hours and serves coffee from Joebella, a fair trade organic company that roasts in Atascadero. The shop also boasts a cereal bar and a variety of fruit for sale. Some students take full advantage of the late hours, combining coffee and donuts to fuel study sessions well into the night.

“Students are here until 4 in the morning,” Pickering said. “Some pass out right there on that bench, and when they wake up, we’re still here.”

SLO Donut Company is at 793-F Foothill Plaza on Broad in San Luis Obispo. Call 782-9766 or visit or

Fast Facts

State and local agencies are hosting a Disaster Preparedness Day on Jan. 15. Leading agency officials will be on hand to present earthquake and disaster preparedness measures, speak about what citizens can expect from local and state agencies in the event of a major disaster, and talk about how people can prepare their homes and families. The event is free and will take place at the New Life Community Church, 990 James Way in Pismo Beach from 8:45 a.m. to noon. …

The Best Western San Marcos Inn in Morro bay will donate $5 for every room it sells in February to Enhancement Inc., a local charity that strives to improve the lives of breast cancer patients and survivors. The hotel will also offer guests raffle tickets for the chance to win a two-night stay in a deluxe, ocean-view room. This inn is at 250 Pacific St. in Morro Bay. Call 772-2248.

Intern Jack Johnson compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send items for consideration to [email protected].


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