Countdown to Dan’s GrillHampton: James Lyons of NoFoDoCo

Kelly and James Lyons of North Fork Doughnut Company, aka NoFoDoCo
Kelly and James Lyons of North Fork Doughnut Company
Courtesy NoFoDoCo

James Lyons, owner of North Fork Doughnut Company aka NoFoDoCo, will be bringing something sweet among the chefs and purveyors serving up fabulous food and libations at Dan’s GrillHampton on August 5, the first night of Dan’s Taste Signature Weekend and the penultimate party of this year’s Dan’s Taste Summer Series presented by Yieldstreet.

With a background in brewing beer, Lyons says he and his wife Kelly Lyons, a lifelong baker, launched NoFoDoCo together in 2018.

James Lyons, NoFoDoCo

“(Kelly) and her mother used to do a lot of baking together,” Lyons says, explaining the familial roots of the shop’s signature doughnut recipe. “She passed away when my wife was 19,” he continues, pointing out that Kelly and her siblings preserved their mother’s recipes in a book so they would never be forgotten. “She did a lot of desserts and a lot of baking, so we would always make doughnuts out there on the holidays from her mother’s recipe.”

Lyons says Kelly dreamed of opening up a bakery, and everything clicked while he was visiting California for one of his brewery jobs. “I realized there were lots of these small doughnut shops going on in L.A. and all these other places in California on the West Coast, and there were lines out the door, they were doing really well,” Lyons recalls. “I came home with this knowledge and I spoke to my wife and said, ‘I think maybe we should do something on Long Island because nobody’s doing it really good out here. I think maybe this is an opportunity for us.’”

With the seed planted, “One day, my wife and I both quit our jobs and we took all of our savings that we had and we just did it,” Lyons says, describing the origin of North Fork Doughnut Company. “I just always knew that I wanted to do something on my own. I wanted to create something that I can hand down to my children one day, or just be my own boss. We just decided to take the risk, and we thought it’d be worth it,” he says. “It was definitely a risk.”

That risk paid off, thanks largely to their irresistible doughnuts. “You can fry doughnuts or you can bake doughnuts,” Lyons says, sharing their process, which uses the frying method to make yeast-style doughnuts, rather than cake, so NoFoDoCo’s offerings have a light, fluffy consistency, more like bread than cake.

“Cake doughnuts are very, very easy to make. They’re delicious, but they’re kind of one-two-three,” he explains. “The yeast doughnuts are a more artisanal approach. There’s proofing, there’s yeast involved, there’s table time. It takes about four hours for us to make a batch of doughnuts. There’s a little more involved, and I think people appreciate that.”

NoFoDoCo Mother's Day doughnut box
NoFoDoCo doughnuts

NoFoDoCo at GrillHampton

At GrillHampton, Lyons says NoFoDoCo will likely bring three to four of their best-selling flavors from their stores in Mattituck and Bay Shore, like Caramel Coffee Cake, though slightly smaller than usual to allow room for other offerings at the event. “I don’t know if you’ve had our doughnuts, but they’re particularly large — they’re like the size of your head,” he says, pointing out that he’s excited for the big night.

“I just always really liked the way the (Dan’s Papers) events were handled and the way they were executed. I thought they were really classy and very nice events, so after doing one of them, we started doing a bunch.” 

NoFoDoCo has locations in Mattituck (100 Love Lane) and Bay Shore (5 E. Main Street), as well as a mobile doughnut truck traveling around the East End and beyond. For more info, visit nofodoco.com.

Dan’s GrillHampton will be held Friday, August 5 from 7–10 p.m. at Nova’s Ark in Water Mill. Visit DansTaste.com for tickets and more info.

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