Celebrating 10 years in the Village, Meaney’s Mini Donuts continues to draw long lines by creating tasty treats
By Jane Bartnett
Donuts and the beach. Could there be a more perfect match?
In the heart of Siesta Key Village, at the edge of the Morton’s Market parking lot and across the street from the gazebo, lies a well-loved landmark: Meaney’s Mini Donuts. The shop’s cheery bright-yellow awning and the giant soft serve ice cream cone that sits in front of the walk-up window makes it a hard place to ignore.
Considering the long lines that often wrap around the corner on any given day, Siesta Key’s beloved donut shop is a hands-down favorite among tourists and locals alike. For 10 years, donut lovers have flocked to this little patch of sweet bliss.
There’s something special about walking down the street with your own freshly baked bite- sized warm donuts topped with mouth-watering treats ranging from apple pie filling to chocolate, coconut, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
But that’s not all. The soft serve ice cream, another beach treat that harkens back to simpler times, can be yours too. Enjoy yours in a cone or a cup. If you have a serious sweet tooth, try the donut sundae. Sprinkles? Meaney’s got you covered there, too.
When the little shop opened its window back in 2012, it was the creation of Vince and Karen Meaney, a Grand Rapids, Michigan couple with a treasured family donut recipe. The couple had relocated to Sarasota several years earlier and started to sell their donuts at a popular flea market in Bradenton. The donuts were such a hit that they decided to open their own free-standing donut shop.
Their daughter Lindsay joined the new business and when the space that had previously been the home of the Village Laundry became available, the couple decided to give it a go. Meaney’s Mini Donuts was born.
In 2018, Lindsay and her husband, Anthony Pallaria, assumed the ownership of the Siesta Key operation from her parents. Two years later, as the pandemic raged on, the Meaneys opened a second location on St. Armand’s Circle. Despite the odds, the new shop became a success.
Looking back, Pallaria said that the summer of 2020 was, incredibly, one of their busiest years on Siesta Key.
“It’s hard to believe, but because we are a walk-up window operation, it was a real advantage for us,” he said.
And the island’s tourism growth has provided a big boost.
“Our business has increased about 200% in the last few years and it’s due to the popularity of Siesta Key. Having grown up here, I can see that Siesta Key is very different than when I was a kid. We’re very lucky to be young business owners,” said Pallaria, who is 33.
The couple also own the Sea Shanty gift store next door to the donut shop. He manages the donut business and she takes care of the boutique.
“Lindsay and her dad grew the donut shop into what it is today,” he said of his wife and father-in-law.
The couple just signed a long-term lease, ensuring that donut lovers will be able to walk up and get their favorite tasty treats for a long time to come.
“It’s a great business,” said Pallaria. “Our customers are happy, they’re on vacation and they love our donuts. The best way to eat our donuts is to walk up to the window and get them hot and fresh. We don’t do UBER Eats. They’re not meant to be bought and put in the refrigerator.”
The top three best sellers are French toast, Bavarian cream, and cheesecake.
“All of our toppings go on top of the donut, which makes it like a blank slate. We can customize the donut to our customers liking,” he added.
Pallaria said that local businesses have told him that they view the donut shop as a barometer for how busy their day will be. If there’s a long line in the morning, they know that business will be brisk.
Each day the window opens at 8 a.m. and the donut-making begins. “We make our dough on the spot as needed. It’s as fresh as it possibly can be,” said Pallaria.
The store is open seven days a week, 16 hours every day, until 10 p.m. It only closes on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
And of course, a good donut needs a good cup of coffee to go with it. Espresso and the double brew of Meaney’s own coffee are popular choices. Ice coffee and latte to go are also on the menu.