Donut Shop

35.991483, -78.898394

Year demolished
Building Type
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(Courtesy Durham County Library / North Carolina Collection)

The building at 336 East Pettigrew Street was the location of "The Donut Shop" (also called "The Do-Nut Shop") - a popular mid-20th century restaurant and meeting place for the Hayti community. The restaurant was founded in 1946 by W.G. Pearson, II and his wife, Jessie Logan after Pearson returned to Durham from service in World War II. Per a 1951 writeup, the restaurant was "hailed as 'The South's Finest Eating Establishment'." The restaurant featured private dining rooms and a banquet room, known as "The Jade Room."

The Donut Shop, rightmost of the three buildings.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)

Interior of the Donut Shop, 1950s.

Below, an excerpt from "Negro Durham Marches On" about the Donut Shop, 1949.

Looking south from E. Pettigrew St., 1950s.

It isn't clear when the Donut Shop, as a business, closed. By 1971, the upper floors were home to WAFR, an African-American-oriented public radio station. A fascinating June 1973 article in Ebony profiled the station as a "strong, unifying force in Durham's black [sic] community...."

East Pettigrew Street 1976

This photo looking southeast was taken in June 1976 by staff at the NC State Historic Preservation Office.

The building appears to have been torn down in the late-1970s. It has been some form of parking lot since that time.

Looking southwest from the same vantage point as the three building shot above, 09.20.07. The Donut Shop would be approximately behind the telephone pole.

Below, a video I made by superimposing an aerial view of Hayti in 1959 on 2007 satellite imagery and fading the 1959 aerial in and out.



I couldn't see the video. Both video blocks where blank. Still I love the work you are doing. Even though I no longer live in Durham,I still keep up with whatever is going on in the Bull City. :O)


I'm sorry it didn't work for you - it seems okay when I bring it up. Maybe just a temporary server issue? I'm finding dealing with video to be somewhat challenging.


The vids worked for me...

VERY cool post(s)!!! I had always wondered where "that section" of Hayti (where the Biltmore and Donut Shop were); I always assumed their sites were under 147, and that they were razed for 147 construction.


Gary, I've really been looking forward to your posts about Hayti.

And, you've started with an amazing entry. The aerial video showing the changes to this section of Hayti is amazing. Great job!

Augh! I weep! I mourn! I gnash teeth! We had a home grown doughnut restaurant!

Oh, the carbosity!

The superimposed video is quite mesmerizing! I'm impressed!

That first photograph of the Donut Shop is so beautiful! I wish I could just walk inside...

Gary, You spoil us. That superimposed vid is terrific!

(I lust after that jukebox in the interior photo.)

OMG! That is my Great Uncle Bill, Judge WG Pearson, in that video! My father told me that Uncle Bill and his wife Jessie owned an operated a Donut/Southern food restaurant; I'm so proud.

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