Vancouver’s legendary donut spot, Lee’s Donuts, owned by Filipino family

VANCOUVER — Holidays in Granville Island can get pretty jam-packed, with the swarm of both locals and foreign visitors to the well-known tourist spot.

This is true for Lee’s Donuts, one of the many specialty stores in the island, which sees long line-ups of customers snaking around their corner.

Even Hollywood star and Vancouver native Seth Rogen keeps coming back for his “favorite donut.”

Rogen was recently back at the store early this year with celebrity chef and restaurateur David Chang.

Operations manager Carol Kaesbauer says the crazy line-ups have become the norm, after new owners Allan and Celine Bacani took over.

“It’s not just the social media. It’s a lot of things but yeah, I think Allan has a lot to do with it. There’s more awareness, you know, we get a lot of tourists from all around the world that see that now, and just wanna come down and try.”

Despite changing owners over the years, the donuts are still made with the original recipe from Allan and Betty Lee, who first opened the shop in 1979.

Their most popular flavor remains the honey dip donut.

Allan’s dad, Armando Bacani, also owns a store in Granville Island, called “Armando’s Meat Shop.”

He says Allan probably picked up a few business skills growing up, hanging out with his dad at the butcher shop.

“I’ve been mentoring my son before he bought the donut place for the last, a good 9, 10 years. But I’ve always felt that he wants to do something on his own…when there was an opportunity to acquire the donut place, I said go for it.”

The younger Bacani couple plan to do some updates to their store towards the end of this year, hoping to keep up.

The four and a half star customer ratings on various food review and travel websites.


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