Made by Hand
By: Madeline England
October 17, 2017
Fourteen hundred and eighty sausage rolls sold on Saturday of homecoming football weekend at Statesboro’s favorite breakfast diner, Daylight Donuts.
You can smell the warm, fresh smell of Donuts on South Main Mondays through Saturdays 5a.m to 3p.m. The fresh roasted coffee under the electric blue roof welcomes out-of-towners as it sits about a mile in front of downtown sandwiched by Knights Inn and Stiles Inn.
The locally owned breakfast hot spot opens its doors in the early hours of the day but the day’s preparations are well underway at 12a.m. The early work is key as the freshness of the baked goods is what separates Daylight from Statesboro competitors.
“What I’m most proud of is the customers, they are so loyal. This place wouldn’t be what it is without them and for that, I’m thankful”, Randy Linto, part owner of Daylight Donuts said with his arms resting on the back of the booth and his legs propped up.
Customers range from college students to local families that have been returning since the diner opened in 1991. Everything in the restaurant remains the same since opening nearly 26 years ago. The wooden walls and booths and the same mom-and-pop feel still remains. On the back wall is a glass case that showcases the glazed donuts of all different kind of flavors. Linto mentioned that the donuts are all different shapes because “that’s what happens when you hand make things, they don’t look alike, that’s when you can believe a donut is going to be tasty”.
The restaurant has a drive through but you can find cars backed up to the street on weekend mornings.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, Daylight is the same since it opened in Statesboro but the people love it”, Wayne Miller, the former owner’s brother and current restaurant electrician said. “Randy takes on a lot of stress, it takes more than you think to run that place, but he does it because he loves the customers”.
Daylight was formerly owned by linto’s wife, who recently lost the fight to cancer in 2015. Randy’s motto remains, the customer is the most important thing above anything else. “If someone is calling on the phone and I have a customer at the counter, I’m going to help the person in my store because it means a lot that they took time out of their day to come in”. The employees greet every customer with a warm smile, Linto believes this to be the most important key in the restaurant business.
A wholesale company approached Linto in 2011 as they offered him a pretty price to supply Daylight with frozen donuts. This would indeed make his life easier, no more early mornings and countless hours of labor, but he turned down the offer because no one in Statesboro makes donuts like Daylight. The restaurant and its employees are most proud of the way the dough rises, making the donut “thick and fluffy”, not airy, like other donuts are rumored to be.
Founded in 1954, Daylight Donuts is a franchise but every blue roof is independently owned. All business owners are free to keep all profit earned in the store. This means it is up to the owner to stick to whatever recipe they choose. Statesboro’s location sticks to their secret flour. There are nearly one thousand retail stores and 35 opening every year.
When he’s not making donuts, you can find Randy cruising around Statesboro in his lit up dune buggy. He gives rides to children with cancer in Savannah at St.Josephs when he is able. Daylight is involved in many charity organizations.
With the Blue Mile underway, Daylight Donuts will participate in the remodel as soon as given the go ahead. With the population of the town growing and increase in business, you can expect a whole new look of the diner, according to Randy Linto.
“I’ve been eating Daylight’s donuts since I was little, the Lintos have seen me grow up. These donuts trump Krispy Kreme’s, you can tell they’re are fresh”, local, Alex Kennon said.
Statesboro is awaiting the remodel in hopes that the restaurant doesn’t lose its at- home, cozy family feel.