New shops are filling the hole of the doughnut void as Miami catches up to the national trend, wafting from old-school to artisan gourmet.
The indulgent craze even inspired this year’s line of Turkish leather loafers in six pastel colors at Sabah stores sprinkled across the country.
Doughnuts, which immigrated to America without holes, became baked into American culture in the 1940s and ’50s at roadside stands. Today, craft creations by executive chefs are shedding the blue-collar image as stacked doughnuts mimic wedding cakes and office workers drop decadent crumbs into their keyboards.
On weekends, customers brave 30-minute lines at The Salty Donut in Miami's Wynwood Art District for lavish presentations embellished with 24-carat gold dust, edible flowers or caramel popcorn, priced from about $4.50 to simpler ones for $2.25.
Photo: A line forms frequently outside gourmet coffee shop, The Salty Donut. (©Masson Liang)
“It’s an old-time favorite that we’re doing a spinoff of and making more intense. It’s insane how it’s taken off,” said Amanda Pizarro, The Salty Donut co-owner with husband, Andy Rodriguez. “We play with textures, salts, cream and herbs, such as rosemary. We wanted to create a plated dessert inside a doughnut.”
Their seasonal strawberry shortcake flavor, crafted with 24-hour brioche dough and crowned with mascarpone whip and a strawberry slice, stretches four inches high. Pizarro estimates their doughnut production at 14,000 per week using 1,500 pounds of flour.
Photo: An assortment of weekly flavored donuts and signature ones at The Salty Donut. (©Masson Liang)
Robert Taylor, a retired police detective, resurrected his in-law family’s Velvet Creme this summer, 18 blocks east of the original in Little Havana after a 17-year hiatus. The Miami brand dates back to 1947.
Photo: Vintage photo of Velvet Creme's original Little Havana location (Courtesy Velvet Creme)
“My sister had boxes and boxes of records that had the old recipes,” Taylor said. “We’re bringing back all the original flavors. I know you’d think it would be an easy transition from cop to doughnut, but it wasn’t.”
“Eighth Street was hopping back in the ’50s. We’re bringing back the way it used to be,” he said. “We’re getting applications from people who used to work in the original store. It’s iconic.”
The star of the vintage-tinged shop is the 180-calorie glazed traditional doughnut, while specialty ones tempt with guava and cheese and key lime—all priced from $1 to $3.
“We want it to be a fun experience, not one you’re dreading because you have to pay $5 or $6 for a doughnut and go to into debt,” he added.
Currently under renovation, Velvet Creme is set to open in August. In the meantime, sugar lovers can find their food truck at Magic City Casino and other events around town. Follow their Instagram account (@velvetcremedoughnuts) for locations.
Photo: Velvet Creme's glazed doughnuts (Courtesy Velvet Creme)
Federal Donuts, which recently opened as the first outpost outside of Philadelphia, boasting James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov and business partner Steven Cook, straddles the fancy factor.
“We don’t want to be pretentious whatsoever. The energy, vibrancy and excitement of Wynwood is in line with what we do—a little bit off-the-wall and fun,” said Solomonov, referring to honey doughnuts served with twice-fried, Korean-style chicken.
Photo: Za'atar fried chicken and honey doughnut (©Michael Persico)
Here, the doughnuts are cake-style, from the hot fresh line coated in a variety of sugars, such as strawberry lavender or brown-sugar cinnamon for $1.75, to fancy glazed ones with guava poppy or blueberry mascarpone for $2.75, adorned with garnishes such as brûléed meringue.
“It’s an affordable place where we’re all trained chefs from refined backgrounds, and there is meticulous preparation in a sort of a lowbrow concept,” Solomonov said, who spent time in South Florida and remembers growing up eating jelly doughnuts during Hanukkah. “There’s nothing like a hot fresh doughnut! They’re sweet, delicious and warm.”
Photo: Early risers can enjoy hot and fresh donuts like cinnamon brown sugar and strawberry lavender or the fancy flavors like churro and crispy nutella. (©Michael Persico)
This story by Victoria Cervantes first appeared on Wheretraveler.com.
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