For as long as she can remember, Mica Marriott has been mixing her love of automobiles and apple fritters.

The former NAPA Auto Parts sales coordinator used to deliver donuts to her clients every Friday, purchasing from donut shops all over Kansas City. Those four years turned out to be just the research she needed to convince herself to quit her job and open her own donut shop, Marrio’s Donuts (pronounced merry-oh’s) located near 95th Street and Antioch in Overland Park.

Open a little less than a year, Marrio's takes its name for Mariott's own last name, which was truncated by the NAPA inventory computer system she used to ship auto parts to her former clients. “It didn’t have enough letters to spell my whole last name, so it knew me as Marrio, short for Marriott,” she explains. “When I first started using the system, I wasn’t very good and the warehouse manager was always griping about something Marrio had done, so he became a fictitious character in my life that got blamed for a lot of my mistakes. When I opened the donut shop, I decided he needed his own Facebook page.”

A love of cars runs in Marriott's family. While studying for her degree in broadcast journalism, she spent several years managing her uncle’s automotive repair shop, Marriott Garage in Gardner, Kansas. 

“That was when a sales rep from NAPA came to call on me at my auto repair shop and offered me a job working for them,” said Marriott. “I knew what shop owners were looking for, and I loved meeting new people and getting out and calling on clients.”

The transition to buying donuts for her customers to owning her own donut shop, however, happened slowly. Marriott realized she missed being a small business owner, so she kept her day job with NAPA and picked up an evening job waiting tables at Pegah’s family restaurant at 87th Street in Lenexa. Soon, she had made enough extra money to open up her own donut shop in a former Little Caesar's pizza shop.

Marriott began making a variety of donuts, but noticed that the more traditional styles were always the first to go. She decided to open a traditional donut shop, serving all the classics including glazed, cake, long johns, fritters, filled and plain Bismarks, cinnamon rolls, cheese danish, fruit turnovers and croissants.

“My best sellers are my lemon cake donut and my nutty roll, which is a deep-fried cinnamon roll, topped with maple icing and chopped peanuts on top,” she says. “It’s like a cinnamon roll, a pancake and a Payday candy bar all rolled into one.”

In addition to her donuts, which usually sell out each day, Marriott has been offering a few breakfast items like biscuits and sausage gravy, French toast or a sausage roll with or without cheese. On Thursdays and Fridays, she offers $5 lunch box meals, which customers can pick up in the morning when they come in to get their donuts and take with them to heat and eat later at work. Each week she offers a different lunch box special, including options like Italian goulash, pulled pork sandwich, meatball sub, chicken pot pie or lasagna.

Bringing her two loves together again, Marriott will be hosting "Marrio’s Dragsters & Donuts" the second Saturday of each month from April 13 through October 12 from 7 to 11am in the parking lot of her shopping center. This event will feature a Saturday morning cruise where muscle car owners will come and park, and families and car-lovers can grab donuts and coffee while checking out the cars.

Step into Marrio's Donut Shop for just a moment and you’ll see that Marriott's recipe for success comes from her friendly and outgoing personality coupled with her love of both dragsters and donuts.

Marrio’s Donut Shop, 8930 W. 95th St., Overland Park, Kansas, 913.291.1606, marriosdonutshop.com

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Jenny is Feast's contributing editor for Kansas City. She brakes for chef's coats.

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