Lukumades opens first American location in Jacksonville Beach


What does New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have in common with Jacksonville Beach?

They all were in consideration to be the city where the first Lukumades location in the United States would open, but it was Jacksonville Beach that brothers Leo and Gio Georgallis chose when bringing the Greek doughnut franchise to the states and they officially held their grand opening on May 1.

In many ways it was a decision made from the heart as the brothers grew up in Jacksonville Beach and it has always been a special place to them.

“We’ve got over 25 locations all over the world in Dubai, Singapore and places like that, but I really wanted to do something like this in my hometown first,” Leo Georgallis said. “I really wanted the first one to mean something and Jacksonville means a lot to me.”

While those bigger cities and expanding in the United States is still on Leo’s mind and something he would love to do in the future his focus right now is making sure Jacksonville Beach location thrives and hits home with resident and he believes everything is in place to do just that.

“We’ll see how this goes but we’re the master franchiser in Florida and in the next five to 10 years, I’d love to be in every beach town so we can share this with everyone,” Georgallis said.

One of the things that makes him confident in the business is its location, as Lukumades is nestled into a line of stores and sits right across from the Jacksonville Beach Pier at 504 1st Street North in Jacksonville Beach.

“This has been a long process and a couple of years now with me and the creators talking back and forth about bringing this to America,” Georgallis said.

The company started in 2015 in Australia, as the city of Melbourne has the largest population of Greek people outside of Greece in the world, and the concept started evolving quickly even during the COVID-19 pandemic when they found themselves as one of the few businesses that continued to grow during that time due to their product which proved easy to grab and eat on the go.

The staple of the Lukumades menu are the doughnuts, which the shop is named after and that are created using a unique style and ingredients.

“Lukumades is the actual name of the dessert, and it is considered the first dessert ever written about in modern literature, so it’s a more than 2,000-year-old recipe,” Georgallis said. “In 776 B.C. where the first Olympic Games were held in Greece, instead of winning a gold medal, you got a gold token which was a fried doughnut in honey and dusted with cinnamon. Something’s been working right for those 2,000 years but all we did was just modernize it and take it to the next level.”

Part of the modernization includes having a variety of flavors a customer can choose to top their lukumades with, such as cookies and cream, pistachio and kinderella, which combines melted hazelnut sauce, drizzled milk chocolate and crushed biscuit on top of the lukumades.

Another way that Lukumades stands out, as if they needed another one, is that they are making fresh doughnuts roughly every 30 minutes and pride themselves on serving them hot and fresh.

Coffee is also offered to accompany the lukumades, including a Greek twist with its freddo espresso and freddo cappuccino options, as well as an array of flavors of gelato, shakes and refreshers to choose from.

Lukumades is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.