Tom Guyer of Ohio thinks downtown Crystal River is ready for a new made-to-order donut and ice cream eatery.
He’s so confident he bought a house in Hernando and, after he retires soon from the machine shop he owns in Cleveland, will move his belongings here to begin his new life as a first-time restaurant owner.
Owning a restaurant has been a dream of his ever since he visited a Duck Donuts on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. He was impressed by the franchise that specializes in warm, fresh custom-made donuts and will follow that model when he opens Guyer’s Ice Cream and Doughnuts, hopefully by the end of the year.
Guyer said he couldn’t ask for a better location at 116 Northeast Fifth Street, adjacent to the Vintage on 5th restaurant and within walking distance to the city’s new town square and splash pad.
Guyer closed on the property this month and is working with the city on permitting.
“It’s just something I've wanted to do ever since we went to North Carolina 18 years ago. I said, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to make people smile,’” he said
Tom and wife Cheryl Guyer fell in love with Citrus County after they and their children visited friends who retired here.
Customers will be able to build their own donuts and watch them being made. Patrons can select from 20-30 toppings on their cake donut and it’s put in a fryer and served warm in about two minutes.
The restaurant will serve hard-scoop ice cream but Guyer is not sure yet which brand.
Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek said Guyer’s new donut shop will be a perfect fit for the kind of vibe the city is encouraging.
“It’s going to be a very exciting addition to downtown - a unique eating experience,” Meek said.
The building is a former doctor’s office and is located next to Vintage on 5th restaurant. An outdoor porch with umbrellas will overlook the new town square and splash pad. There will be indoor and outdoor seating with a beach motif to match the area.
And there will be a manatee or two somewhere in the decor, Guyer joked.
Crystal River City Manager Ken Frink said Guyer is the first business owner that’s taken advantage of the recent master-plan charrette, a consultant-led visioning event that explored what residents want their city to look like.
"To see something come out of (the charrette) so quickly is very promising," Frink said.
The consultant, Dover Kohl & Partners, worked up a 3-D design for Guyer and presented it at the two-week charrette.
Jason King, a principal with the consulting firm, said the design evolved from conversations with Guyer and other business owners. The key was to make sure the new eatery fit the vision of what he calls an “urban format’ - easily accessible for walkers with parking discreetly hidden in the back of businesses.
“The porch, for example, entices and encourages pedestrians to (enter),” King said.