Spilt Milk

by Dec 7, 2021Restaurants, South Brunswick

Ocean Isle Beach’s newest sweet shop offers donuts and coffee for breakfast and ice cream, gelato and sorbet for dessert.

Spilt Milk Ice Cream and Donut Shop on the Causeway in Ocean Isle Beach, which opened August 28, 2021, offers the opportunity for breakfast or dessert in the same place.

Its selections go beyond traditional glazed and sugar donuts in the morning or chocolate and vanilla ice cream in the evening. Among the 20 choices of donuts, you’ll find Bavarian cream-filled Bismarck, strawberry fritter, praline, pistachio, maple bacon and key-lime cake.
The 16 varieties of ice cream cover a multitude of flavors including tiramisu, watermelon, cheesecake and cotton candy. The shop’s coffee goes well with any of the choices.

“We wanted to bring in something we thought the community would love,” says owner James Lane. “Our idea is to make the best ice cream, gelato and donuts you can find anywhere.”

The massive glass window that separates the kitchen allows people to watch as workers load trays and the automated system dispenses the perfect amount of glaze. A kaleidoscope of colors entices customers to inquire about the orange or pink or purple ice cream or the cream decorating a raised donut.

Spilt Milk James Lane NC

Customers sway to the upbeat music as they point to white icing donuts topped with sprinkles or the blue ice cream labeled “unicorn.” Ample seating is available for those who wish to eat indoors as they devour the cream-filled powdered sugar donut or lick their lips to get the last of the cream from a Bismarck. Others may wish to sit at the tables outside.

Lane understands the hospitality industry. He owns Angelo’s Pizzeria & Bistro in Shallotte and Maria’s Pizzeria next door to Spilt Milk. He says he wanted to offer customers at Maria’s “a nice dessert of ice cream.”

He developed the concept for the shop in 2020 when restaurants were closed to indoor dining. Initially the shop was only going to sell ice cream, but with further consideration, he added donuts.

“I’ve always loved donuts, and we saw a need in the community for a good bakery that makes fresh donuts,” Lane says.

The name came about from the shutdown as well. “The way 2020 was going was almost like spilt milk,” he says. “It’s one of those things that just happens.”

Ocean Isle Beach Spilt Milk

Lane explains that everything at Spilt Milk is made in-house from scratch. Trained bakers make the dough for donuts and trained workers mix the ingredients for the ice cream, gelato and sorbet. He especially enjoys seeing the children mesmerized at watching the bakers roll and twist the dough and the machinery open and close and dispense toppings. “When you come here, you’ll know the donuts are fresh and are made daily,” Lane says.

Customers have been coming from all over to enjoy these tasty treats.

“We’ve been hearing how good this [shop] is,” Taylor Buffkin of Ocean Isle Beach says, pointing to the box with glazed, cookies and cream and a birthday cake donuts inside. His daughter, Louella Buffkin, 5, munches on a glazed donut and says, “It’s yummy.”

“They are really good,” adds Morgan Strahley of Holden Beach.

Lane, who turns 41 in November, didn’t plan to be a restaurateur. He grew up in Lexington, North Carolina, and wanted to be a teacher, a career his two older sisters pursued. However, after three semesters at Wingate University in Charlotte, he decided teaching golf was where he belonged. He received certification as a golf pro and took a job at the former Baytree Golf Plantation in Little River. When he added an evening job at a Broadway at the Beach restaurant in Myrtle Beach, the owner there believed he could succeed in the restaurant industry.

Lane followed the suggestion and in 2003 he became a partner at Angelo’s. When the founder retired in 2010, Lane bought the business. He saw a need for another restaurant in Ocean Isle Beach and opened Maria’s in October 2019.

Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce named him one of the 2016 Future 10 Leaders. He and his wife, Ashley, live in Sunset Beach with their school-age daughters Kennedy and Claire.

“We’re all having fun and working hard and enjoying the growth,” Lane says. He includes the burgeoning population as well as the “growth of the opportunity to serve it.” He admits to needing staff, but in the meantime, he says “We try to focus daily on achieving our tasks and our goals with the people we have.”

By the way, in July 2021 Lane opened Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen in Holden Beach, which serves Southern dishes from his family’s recipes.

Want to go?
Spilt Milk Ice Cream & Donut Shop
120 Causeway Drive, next to Maria’s Pizzeria, Ocean Isle Beach
(910) 579-9339
Open daily 7 am to 9 pm