Two years ago Sokcheat Heng, the owner of Marietta Donuts, left Battambang, Cambodia for Boston with hopes of becoming a successful entrepreneur in the U.S. He had owned a home supply business in Cambodia but liked doughnuts and knew that his friends in Atlanta could help him learn how to make them. While living in Boston he met his girlfriend and business partner, Sophal Chhim, and together they packed up and moved to East Cobb. Friends had scouted out a storefront adjacent to a Shell gas station at the busy intersection of Roswell and Johnson Ferry Roads and helped them launch their business.
There’s almost no signage for the cozy doughnut shop—blink and you might miss it. Every day at 5:00 a.m., the couple hits the kitchen to begin making their from-scratch doughnuts in classic varieties like sour cream and crumb cake, along with seasonal flavors like pumpkin. “I never really liked doughnuts until we started to work with them, and now I love them,” laughs Chhim.
The fruit of their labor: yeast doughnuts are so light and airy that for a fleeting moment, you might think they were low-carb. There may not be zany toppings or designs here (other than letter-shaped doughnuts for special orders) like many of metro Atlanta’s trendiest shops, but you will find two unique offerings: apple fritters and kolaches. Sink your teeth into an apple fritter and you’ll be rewarded with juicy chunks of apples in a rich dough laced with spices. Kolaches, similar to pigs in a blanket, are a Polish treat they learned about from their Texas-based friends, where the dish is a roadside-stand favorite. Smoked sausage wrapped in Danish dough makes for a sweet and savory treat. They haven’t quite taken off like Heng and Chhim hoped, but they’re hopeful the pastries will catch on.
The couple hopes to open another doughnut outpost eventually, preferably in another area that doesn’t have many other doughnut options, but for now they’re glad to be in East Cobb where they say the community is incredibly supportive. They haven’t spent any money on advertising, yet most weekend mornings you’ll find a line out the door thanks to word-of-mouth. “A little boy came in and told his mom, ‘we have to support the local business,’ and I was so surprised. Even the kids want to support others,” says Chhim.
If you swing by, plan on taking your doughnuts to go–there’s almost no seating in the pink-hued shop. You can buy coffee and soft drinks to go with your treats. The coffee isn’t particularly special, but does the trick if you like to dunk your doughnut. 1282 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, 470-308-6130