In high school, Joshua Francis’ truck wouldn’t start and he and a friend got stuck at the Oxford Doughnut Shoppe on Locust Street. The school secretary picked them up.
Four years later, when he was 21, Joshua bought that very doughnut shop. He hired someone from Cincinnati to teach him and has spent his nights making doughnuts ever since.
“You start talking to yourself when you’re here by yourself all night,” says Joshua.
But, when he has visitors, the conversation never ends.
Joshua asks for podcast recommendations. He listens to Hardcore History, but hadn’t heard of Serial or This American Life.
Ingredients are mixed in a giant Hobart mixer — like a Kitchen Aid, but 10 times bigger. Then the dough has to rise.
Joshua talks about his parents. His dad was in manufacturing, his mom an accountant. He grew up taking cars apart.
Now, his father helps out when he can, baking cinnamon rolls or selling doughnuts and coffee in the morning.
Once the dough has risen, it’s flattened and then cut into the familiar, circular shape.
He talks about mission trips to Haiti and passing out peanut butter sandwiches to locals. It made him think, for the first time, about how he throws doughnuts away simply because they don’t look perfect.
The doughnuts are put in the proofer, set to cool, then fried. They float in the fryer, flipped with giant chopsticks.
“There was always an allure to this place when I was growing up,” he says.
Joshua talks about Oxford — he knows the kinds of things you only learn by living in a place for a long time. He grew up here, went to Miami, and never left.
Two coats of glaze are poured over the doughnuts, the excess dripping down into a tray to use on the next batch.
Joshua likes that his doughnuts make people happy, that people smile when they leave his shop.
The doughnuts are set to cool and wait until morning.