LEHI --- Exotic, unique, gourmet, artisan -- those are just a few of the words that could be used to describe the doughnuts Station 13 on Lehi Main Street offers its customers.
Carolen Firestone and Natalie Toth were looking for a coffee shop in Lehi and said the only other one that they could find was at the Saratoga Springs Crossroads on Redwood Road.
"Wow," Firestone said as she walked up to the counter.
"I think it's awesome. It's really cute," she said.
A renovated car wash tucked between Checker Flag and J&M's Transmission on Lehi Main Street, the building is a themed fire station cafe. Outside is parked a classic fire engine, inside there are Lehi and American Fork firefighter turnouts hung along with helmets and other gear, and often real live firefighters and paramedics dot the dining area.
"We had a whole fire station crew in one time to check us out. It was pretty funny," Station 13 shift lead Addie Hodgson said.
To capsulate what defines Station 13 is difficult. It's not just a cafe or a coffee shop, nor is it just a few firefighting decor items thrown in. According to its owners, Joseph White and Alex Whitt, it's a labor of love and it's magic.
Each night after the employees lock up and leave, a crew of elves pop into the back kitchen where the homemade, hand-cut doughnuts, kolaches and southern-style pies are created.
"We make all our own icing, our chocolate, our maple. True story," Whitt said.
More than 1,000 colorful gems of culinary art greet patrons as they walk in when the restaurant opens at 6 a.m. If you are more of a traditionalist for breakfast at that hour of the morning, patrons can choose a kolache with combinations of cheese, egg, steak, burger, sausage, ham or bacon.
Want a gourmet drink with your bacon maple or cookies and cream doughnut? Station 13 specialists can blend smoothies, frozen hot chocolate, cocoa bean-based crio bru and coffee varieties behind the counter. They also offer Italian sodas and Arrowhead bottled water. Special Station 13 often provides for parties, receptions, meetings, and orders can be called in at (801) 327-9385.
The real work on creating Station 13 began in February, turning 2,400 square feet of concrete, cinder block and metal into a restaurant. The drive-through bay became the dining area, service counter and blending kitchen, the chemical room for soap and wax became the guest restrooms and employee office, and the self-wash bay transformed into the midnight workshop for the artisan pastry chefs.
Partners White and Whitt have accentuated their strengths while using their business savvy -- they are partners for a Beehive Homes Assisted Living Center in Lehi -- to bring about Station 13. White is the firefighter aficionado and along with his fire engine parked out front has a large framed photo hanging in the station bay of his grandfather Dell White fighting a 1966 structure fire in Tooele. His father also was a firefighter.
"I just like fire trucks. My wife got me one for Christmas," White said, adding the engine is a magnet for kids.
"This thing can go out and fight fires. It has the hoses and everything," White said, grinning.
Whitt is a fifth-generation doughnut man. Shorty's Donut Shop and Diner served Southern Maid Donuts and the genuine Texas doughnuts.
"We had a doughnut shop in our family for over 50 years in Texarkana, Texas," Whitt said with Texas family pride.
The two partners are on the fast track for expanding Station 13. White and Whitt are just a few years shy of 40 years old and said they want to retire when they turn 40. They have plans for a mobile doughnut truck, similar to a neighborhood ice cream truck, launching Feb. 1. Their silent partner Jessica White said the route would begin at BYU and stop at businesses and drive through neighborhoods. Another Station 13 is planned west of Lehi and they said they hope to see it open within the year.
"We've got to keep the elves busy. They have to have something to do after Christmas," Whitt said -- no grin given, pure deadpan.