Laurel Tavern Donuts

Laurel, Maryland | C.2008

Photo Credit: Austin Graff

It takes dedication to begin making fresh doughnuts from scratch everyday at 3 a.m., but that’s just what husband and wife, Will and Jin Kwon do to ensure the freshest doughnuts hit the display cases by the time they open their doors at 5:30 a.m.

But before Will and Jin purchased the petite standalone structure in 2008, it had been one of the final locations of the longstanding, independently owned hamburger chain, Little Tavern Established in 1927 by Harry F. Duncan in Louisville, Kentucky, the original locations fizzled out, and the to the D.C. / Baltimore area would become HQ for the burger business. Within a decade there were 50 locations each with its signature Tudor green-roof cottage design.

“Buy ‘em by the bag! COLD DRINKS – GOOD COFFEE” ☕️ was the chain’s slogan when in the ‘20s, hamburgers were sold for a dime and coffee for a nickel. The model to sell ‘em small, square, cheap and quick persisted through the years, as patrons continued to cozy up to the counter on bar-stools and watch their meal get made on the griddle ‍.

When the Kwons came along, they replaced the counter-style dine-in approach with donut-filled display cases for take away. But after opening their doors, people still asked for the bite-sized burgers – so to satisfy their customers, they stuck with tradition. They acquired the original Little Tavern recipe from a longtime manager of the hamburger chain and continued making the square patties topped with a blend of chopped onions and Montreal steak seasoning.

So when a hankering hits for a home made donut and classic mini-burger, Will and Jin Kwon have you coveted at Tavern Donuts.

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