Donut King
Long-time owner Alex Ngo (third from right) poses with new owner Cody Bassetti (third from left) during a work session to remodel the Donut King at 807 Broadway. Helping out with the work was (from left) Grace Benedetti, Julia Echenique, Bassetti, Ngo, Austin Echenique and Wiley Williams. (Contributed)

KING CITY — Say the name “Alex” in King City and most people will likely know you are referring to Alex at the Donut King.

For 29 years since 1995, Alex Ngo has cooked and sold the best donuts in town at 807 Broadway, next to 7-11. That era is coming to a close as Alex trains a new group of cooks, having sold his business.

A native of Vietnam, Alex came to the United States as a young adult and spoke no English. His uncle Uug Ngo owned the King City donut business and sold it to him when he was in his 30s. Alex was without a steady income and the sale of donuts here provided him with a steady job, but with that came years of hard work, struggling with low profits and the challenges of running a business. Sometimes he slept in his chair.

His schedule in the donut business had him starting his day at 8:30 p.m., cooking all night and opening his doors at 5:30 a.m. to sell and distribute donuts until 4 p.m. Glazed, sugared, chocolate and maple bars were among the favorites. Now, donut holes are pretty popular. Seldom was he able to take time off to return to his wife and son in San Jose. Donuts were served six days a week, with only Sunday as a day of rest.

Donut King
Completing 29 years of business in King City, Alex Ngo prepared to return to the San Jose area after selling the Donut King at 807 Broadway. (Contributed)

Earlier this year Alex battled an illness that prevented him from working. Disappointed customers found a sign on the door and wondered when Alex would be back. It was that illness that caused him to consider selling. He remembered that one of his loyal customers, Cody Bassetti, had told him a couple years ago that if he ever wanted to sell, Bassetti would be interested.

So, that’s what happened. A phone call to Bassetti and the deal was made, with Alex agreeing to stay on for a few weeks to make sure the new staff knows how to do the job just as Alex did.

Bassetti is the owner of Bassetti Farms, located at 402 Bassett St. He has partnered with Mark Villanueva and Andrea Lopez, who are learning the ropes. Both are long-time residents of King City.

Lopez works at King City Pizza. Villanueva works at Toro Petroleum. Julia Echenique has been recruited to manage the day-to-day sales. Bassetti’s children, Levi and Presley, chipped in to help by repainting the Donut King sign at the intersection of Broadway and Canal streets.

The sale of the Donut King has been good news for the customers who have frequented the business for many of the years Alex has been there. Guys like Larry Homen, Jim Albanese, Tom Willoughby, Gary Frazier, David Akers, Mark Plaskett, Wyatt Duncan and Buffalo Ramirez. Alex calls them his “old buddies,” the 6 to 7 a.m. crew. They wish Alex well for his retirement, acknowledging that he has been a hard worker and a gracious host.

Donut King
Alex Ngo (middle), former owner of the Donut King, devoted several weeks to teach his successors the art of donut making. Pictured above with Ngo just before a night of cooking are Mark Villanueva (left) and Andrea Lopez. (Contributed)

“I couldn’t believe the time went by so fast,” said Alex, who is now 63 and looking forward to spending more time with his wife and his junior high-age son.

What he’s going to miss about King City is the friendliness of the people, those who are eager to greet people with a “hi” and offer to help when something is needed.

“We won’t change anything,” said Lopez, referring to the quality and selection of donuts. The interior of the building has been rearranged, but it will prominently feature donuts as the specialty.

The Donut King has been a fixture in King City for about 47 years. It was originally owned in a partnership with John and Janet Buttgereit, Ed and Joann Morga and Gordon and Margaret Johnson.

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