El Dorado, AR. - The Spudnut Shoppe has been an El Dorado Jewel for more than 60-years.
Today, Former owners, William and Nancy Varnell hosted a lunch event for neighbors to talk about the Shoppe's History and what it was like growing up around a family business. A Spudnut is very similar to a doughnut. The name ‘Spudnut’ comes from the recipe, which uses a potato-base instead of other popular methods.
Nancy's mother opened the Shoppe, a very unique thing for a woman to do in 1948. The Spudnut brand was started in 1931 by two brothers, and at one point grew to well over 300 franchises nationwide. Today only a handful remains.
Nancy’s mother worked there until the late 1970's when William took over. Growing up in the Shoppe, Nancy said she never thought it would have the impact it did on El Dorado.
"But I think my mother had that vision,” said Varnell. “She always was dedicated to the fact that we were going to have one in El Dorado, Arkansas.”
Anyone who’s lived in El Dorado knows about The Spudnut Shoppe, and likely grew up eating there. William says it was very rewarding to see kids grow up and then come back during a college break, just to have one of their Spudnuts.
"I do think that it's part of the history of El Dorado,” Said William. “It's not the only institution that has that distinction, but it's one of them I believe."
The Varnell’s retired from the Spudnut business in 2009. The restaurant is now owned by another El Dorado Family. Although they’re not related, the Varnell’s say their basically an extension of their own. They’ve kept the recipe the same, making sure the tradition continues.