Randy’s Donuts owner Mark Kelegian considers Pasadena the key to the San Gabriel Valley.
“Pasadena has a particularly close place in my heart,” Kelegian said. “I spent a lot of years as a child living in South Pasadena, when Gus’ Barbecue Pit in the 1960s let you go in the back and cook your own steaks, and I’d go to the Rialto Theater as a child.”
He also said it’s a great business area, so he opened its fifth location at 230 S. Lake Avenue on September 2.
“It’s a city and an area that is very underserved in the donut market,” Kelegian said. “I think Lake Avenue is absolutely the perfect spot, especially when all the businesses around there return. You’ve got Caltech and Pasadena City College, so many neighbors and so forth.”
The Pasadena store continues Randy’s Donuts more than 60-year tradition and introduces a new coffee partnership with Jones Coffee Roasters, exclusively at the Pasadena location.
“We could try to create our own brand of coffee, but it makes no market sense, there’s no branding, no immediate recognition as a coffee offering,” he said.
“So, we took a well-known great brand like Jones Coffee Roasters and we partner up for immediate recognition. Pasadena is our first test market of partnering with a local coffee brand.”
At all Randy’s Donuts locations, guests can find more than 60 varieties of classic, deluxe, fancy and premium donuts mostly priced under $2, along with Randy’s Rounds (Randy’s Donuts much larger version of a donut hole), breakfast sandwiches, French Toast donuts and more.
“At the end of the day, it’s always about the glaze,” he said. “At our main store, we’ll sell 100,000 a month. It’s crazy. It’s all a testament to our 60 years’ worth of recipes and cooking procedures.
“In the donut business, 90% of it is your flour. We have two main bakeries in the world that do donut-related products. We have the largest one make a proprietary blend just for us. Nobody else can have it. It’s really that our cooking procedures. We do everything by hand. That’s why they come out so fluffy and airy. You can eat them the next day and after that.”
Other donut shops, he said, use less-expensive ingredients.
“When you go to a donut shop and see a glazed donut that’s yellowy and sugary, it’s not a good sign. Those donuts get hard within a half hour to an hour.”
Randy’s Donuts offers catering and delivery and has four other locations in the greater Los Angeles area—Inglewood, Century City, El Segundo and Downey. In mid-2019, the company announced plans to franchise the concept domestically and internationally signing deals to bring its donuts to South Korea, the Philippines and the Middle East.
Randy’s signature 32-foot novelty architecture donut, also known as the world’s largest donut, sits atop the original Inglewood shop and is a top Los Angeles tourist destination. As Kelegian says, “they come for the photo op but return for the best handmade donuts in the world.”
“I like the idea of having a product that I think will stand the test of time,” Kelegian said. “We went into this as a family business for my daughters. My two oldest daughters successfully had their own careers and are working for us now.
“I love that to death. Otherwise, I’m in the casino business and a law practice for 20-some years. This is a good family business. It’s something we can keep providing to the public.”