The doughnuts are cooking on Tennyson Street.
Berkeley Donuts debuts today inside Hops & Pie at 3920 Tennyson Street, with New England-style potato doughnuts and doughnut-based breakfast sandwiches. The breakfast eatery is an extension of the ten-year-old pizzeria and beer bar founded by Drew and Leah Watson; Drew says he's been obsessed with potato doughnuts ever since a 2016 trip to Maine, so he decided to start making the light, fluffy specialty himself.
The pizzeria owner has help, though: He brought back chef Audie Mauk, who worked at Hops & Pie before moving to Washington, D.C., for front-of-house restaurant jobs. "You can call me executive chef [of Berkeley Donuts] and 'worldwide doughnut guy,'" Mauk jokes. "I was happy in D.C., but Drew called, so I definitely wanted to come back for this."
The returning chef — who grew up in New England eating potato doughnuts — and his boss have formulated several doughnut styles for nearly every type of doughnut eater. The original is a sourdough recipe that rises high and airy, thanks to an eight-year-old sourdough starter and the addition of potato sourced from Jones Farm in Hooper, Colorado.
The cake doughnuts have a little spring to them and aren't oily or heavy, as cake doughnuts often can be. And vegan and gluten-free versions ensure that guests with specific dietary requirements are taken into account. Watson says he can't guarantee a completely gluten-free environment because wheat flour for the pizza dough and doughnut batter are too difficult to completely contain in the small Hops & Pie kitchen, but the GF doughnuts are baked, not fried in the same oil as the wheat-based products.
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Mauk explains that there will be a set roster of about a dozen everyday doughnuts, such as a strawberry Homer (a tribute to Homer Simpson), a lemon poppyseed and a brown-butter Rice Krispie (the only cereal you'll see as a topping), as well as classics like chocolate, honey and vanilla glazes, and seasonal flavors that will rotate throughout the year. The shop will also open with one savory item, an un-glazed doughnut sandwich stacked with egg, cheese and maple breakfast sausage.
And, yes, it might be tempting to dunk your doughnut in a pint of beer, but a cup of Novo coffee might be more appropriate.
Stop in at Berkeley Donuts every Wednesday through Sunday from 7:30 a.m. until whenever the doughnuts sell out.