SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — There are numerous locally-owned restaurants in Siouxland, and each of them has that one item that instantly comes to mind when you hear their names. KCAU 9’s newest story franchise, “Dishing Siouxland,” is here to find the story behind that one dish that locally-owned restaurants are known for.  

Jitters, located at the edge of downtown Sioux City, has been in business since 1999 and has developed over time into the café we know today. While the name might make you think of coffee, Owner Sarah Kragthorpe said they’re known for their donuts.  

The donuts are a simple recipe, according to Kragthorpe. By mixing a vanilla cake doughnut flour with water and putting them in the frier, Jitters can make eight donuts a minute.  

“The guys come in around 3 or 4 o’clock and make the frosting and then get the machine turned on and warmed up,” said Kragthorpe, “and usually, you know, certainly by 5 o’clock [the machines] are running and hopefully we have full racks by the time we open at 7 a.m.” 

There are approximately 25 dozen (300 donuts) on a full rack and Kragthorp said they aim to start the day with two full racks.

On a weekday, the team makes at least 75 to 80 dozen (900 to 960 individual donuts), and on the weekends they make at least 150 to 175 dozen (1,800 to 2,100 individual donuts).  

Kragthorpe stated that the process of making donuts is fairly easy, but there are some things that could make a doughnut taste different than they should.  

“There are all kinds of factors that are involved,” said Kragthorpe, “Humidity, the temperature of the machine how the dough is mixed. There are a lot of things that can potentially go wrong. Usually, that happens if you have someone who’s new, that hasn’t had the experience, and they may, you know, not mix long enough or they may overmix, or their grease level is too low, so they come out flat. There’s, you know, the temperature and humidity can affect it as well.”  

Sometimes, the hardest part of making the donuts can be chalked up to mechanical problems, according to Kragthorpe. Other times it can be incorrect deliveries, or even supply chain issues

“Last week, they shorted me eight bags of flour on the truck,” said Kragthorpe, “So, I had to drive to Sioux Center to borrow some from somebody else, and you know, right now, there’s a supply chain issue, and we scramble anyway, but it’s exceptionally difficult right now to just get supplies, and when we don’t have them, and we have customers come in anticipating, they don’t care if we have a machine problem. They just care that we don’t have donuts. So, it disappoints our customers, and that’s never good.” 

Despite the struggles, Kragthorpe and her team at Jitters continue to bring Siouxland their favorite homemade donuts with a smile.  

“We just appreciate the great support we get from the Siouxland Community,” said Kragthorpe, “We’re just thrilled to make people happy.”  

The decor of the restaurant matches the smell of donuts and coffee with donuts painted on the walls and front counter, but Jitters wasn’t always known for its sweet treats.

“We, the first ten years, did just our food menu and a lot of catering as well,” said Kragthorpe, “Then in 2009, we moved to our location in Leeds and started with the Sunshine donuts.”  

Kragthorpe said their first location could have been found in the Indian Hills Shopping Center before moving next door to Sunshine Foods, a locally-owned grocery store that has since closed. 

“Sunshine had eight stores at one time, all-around Sioux City, and then one by one they closed,” said Kragthorpe, “The last location was the one that my first location was next door to, so we just were fortunate enough to get the equipment and bring it back to life.”   

Kragthorpe explained that the machines help to make Jitter’s donuts more distinct than other cake donuts. The Jitters Facebook page bio even says “Remember the Sunshine donuts? Jitters has the exact machine!”

Kragthorpe added that, at one point, she even had three locations in Sioux City but felt as though she was “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” and has settled into the one little café on Virginia Street that the Siouxland community has come to know.  

“Keep it simple, do what we do best,” said Kragthorpe, “The hours, you know, I don’t want to work more, right? You know, work smarter, not harder. So, we’re very happy with where we’re at right now.” 

Know a locally-owned restaurant with a famous delicious dish? Email your idea to Ariel Pokett at apokett@kcautv.com.