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Just in time for National Doughnut Day on Friday, June 5, Denver has two new spots for the gloriously fried ringed treats. And both include the doughnut’s hole, which might seem small, but considering the state of the world these days, we’ll take what we can get.
First up is the Denver debut of the Doughnut Club inside Backyard on Blake, a sequel location of a popular Fort Collins bakeshop. It’s known and loved for both its unique displays—Lights! Golden frames! Spinning doughnut holders!—and its over-the-top flavors, like the Cookie Monster with Oreo-infused cocoa cookie butter glaze, a Chips Ahoy cookie mouth, and doughnut hole eyes; the Whip It Good stuffed with vanilla sweet cream filling; and the very Instagram-friendly Unicorn, topped with strawberry lemonade glaze, a golden hole, and a sugar horn plopped on top.
The Doughnut Club is the cheat-day storefront for Fort Collins’s mail-order the Dough Bar, which ships healthy-ish, protein-heavy doughnuts nationwide and was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank. It wanted to expand the Doughnut Club—the more fun one; not the healthy one—down south after a pop-up at Broomfield’s FlatIron Crossing did well in late 2019.
“We’re excited about the idea of moving south and being in the Denver area,” says the Doughnut Club’s media and social outreach director Kari Ellefson. “RiNo is such an artsy, edgy community, and we thought our artisan, handcrafted doughnuts would fit in really well.” The Doughnut Club opens up inside Backyard on Blake today, June 5.
The other new doughnut business is a pandemic success story. Gabrielle Henning and Michael Milton didn’t waste any time after being laid off from their coffee shop day jobs at Improper City in mid-March, launching Pandemic Donuts just a few days later. They started posting their colorful doughnuts on Instagram, and within a few weeks business took off. Like really took off—Pandemic opens up orders on Tuesday mornings and sells out for the entire week that day. “Selling out is an issue,” Henning says. “We sell out every day.”
Henning, a former pastry chef who previously made the treats at Denver’s Stowaway Kitchen, creates the photogenic doughnuts in flavors like peanut butter and jelly, banana old fashioned, and blueberry streusel. For now, the doughnuts are only available for delivery in Denver, or for pick up on weekends at Queen City Collective Coffee (limit two per person, because again, they sell out quick).
With Milton’s 15 years of coffee world experience and, of course, Henning’s baking prowess, the couple hopes to open a brick-and-mortar doughnut and coffee shop—once they figure out what retail storefronts will look like coming out of the COVID-19 era, that is. “We want to do this full time,” Milton says. “We’re really thankful for the support we’ve gotten. It’s been really cool to have the support of the community. We’re really thankful and excited.”