By Claire Salinas
Residents across the state can walk into Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Donuts and, even after a long time, immediately feel at home.
The original Mr. Ronnie’s opened in Houma in 1984, but on June 12, Baton Rouge became the first city to franchise Mr. Ronnie’s.
Mr. Ronnie’s is a 24-hour donut diner that serves Mr. Ronnie’s burgers, pilachis, seasoned fries and regular fries.
The lobby stays open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the drive-thru stays open for 24 hours.
Jacob Boudreaux, a junior biochemistry and French double major at LSU, is infatuated with Mr. Ronnie’s.
“I’m a huge Mr. Ronnie’s fan. Like, spread my ashes when I’m gone at that donut shop of heaven.”
Boudreaux returns to Mr. Ronnie’s over and over because, “The small-town feel keeps bringing me back to their delicious donuts. Being a student in Baton Rouge, I often miss my hometown of Houma. Growing up, Mr. Ronnie’s was a signature dessert if we were good in church or made good grades. To a student who can get caught up in academics and life away from home, something as simple as a glazed donut can make me feel like I’m back home with my family.”
Baton Rouge store co-owner Jade Galliano said the city has welcomed the shop with open arms – and mouths.
“We had a phenomenal opening weekend. We’re pretty much as close to LSU as we can be without being on campus. We plan to do LSU donuts and kings cakes, and on the walls we have LSU paintings and pictures. Everyone walks in and they say the atmosphere feels good.”
Galliano explained what he feels Mr. Ronnie’s brings to the Baton Rouge community.
“There’s not that many donut shops open 24 hours in the area. We want to give Baton Rouge a place to get sweet treat any hour of the night.”
Mr. Ronnie’s daughter, Wendy Picou, is the general manager of the original Mr. Ronnie’s in Houma. Picou shares what she believes is the key to the stores’ successes in both locations.
“We’ve been in the business as Mr. Ronnie’s for 20 years. My mom and dad have been in the donut business since 1976. We don’t cut corners when making our products. We make our own dough, glaze, chocolate and a couple of our fillings. We don’t make it from scratch, but everything is mixed, prepared and made by hand. We pray and ask God for his blessing on all that we do, and we truly believe God has blessed us.”
Posts to Mr. Ronnie’s Facebook page have revealed that people around Louisiana and the nation are wishing for a Mr. Ronnie’s in their area. According to Picou there are several franchising possibilities in the works, but the city names cannot be revealed until plans are finalized.
Mr. Ronnie’s has been a part of many childhood memories for people around Louisiana, like Covington resident Stephani Holloway.
“I would absolutely love to have a Mr Ronnie’s here. Growing up in Houma, where the original Mr. Ronnie’s stands, I spent a lot of time there. I had no idea when I left for college I’d miss it so much. I have so many fond memories of having slumber parties and venturing out the next morning for breakfast, or of my teachers surprising us in homeroom with warm Mr. Ronnie’s donuts on cold mornings.”
Mr. Ronnie’s is a place where memories are not only made, but for Southeastern student Sanshawana Jones, where relationships are renewed.
“Since I have been away from home attending college, I don’t get to spend much time with my younger brothers. Some of the funniest memories over the past few years have come from taking late night and early morning trips to Mr. Ronnie’s with my brothers.”
Mr. Ronnie himself revealed his favorite donut and what makes Mr. Ronnie’s different from other donut shops.
“When I’m in a hurry and doing things in the shop I’ll grab a donut hole on my way out and my way in, so those are my favorite. All of them are my best though. You have to put love and care into your products. If you rush it, it doesn’t do it justice, but
we train people to follow the formulas in a stringent way. We want to give the people what they want when they want it. We are not perfect but we strive for perfection.”
Boudreaux explains how he will keep the love alive for Mr. Ronnie’s in his future family.
“I look forward to one day sitting atop their red seats with my children, sharing memories over a nice donut and cold glass of milk.”