By Bryan Richards
From its humble beginnings in a home kitchen to its pop-up shop days and now brick-and-mortar storefront, Joe’s Doughs takes pride in feeding oh-so-creatively crafted doughnuts to the historic NoDa neighborhood and doughnut lovers at large. We’re not just talking about your basic glazed and sprinkled varieties; Joe’s iterations run the gamut—from white chocolate mocha to peanut butter s’mores, cookies ‘n cream and more. But what else would one expect from a doughnut-maker who is also a musician?
For founder Joe Pepe, his obsession with doughnuts began when he was on the road with his band. “In every city, I tried to find a mom-and-pop doughnut shop,” he recalls. Yet, even with all those doughnuts—which he claims helped him to become the connoisseur he is today–he still remembers the doughnut that started it all. “[It was] the Sriachosin from Donut Friend in Los Angeles. It was filled with peanut butter, jelly, and bacon and topped with a drizzle of sriracha. It wasn’t a doughnut; it was its own thing.”
With no technical training as a baker, Pepe began experimenting in his kitchen at home. “I’m a research junkie; I like trial and error,” he says. “Eventually, after playing with enough recipes, I found one that I liked.” Now Pepe can’t dine out without thinking, “How would this taste as a doughnut?” And that’s where the inspiration for the goat cheese, strawberry and balsamic doughnut was born.
Not all of Joe’s doughnuts push the confection’s creative limits. One of his favorites is the simple vanilla glazed doughnut. “It’s a complete underdog,“ says Pepe. “It tastes like vanilla ice cream on a doughnut from the amount of real vanilla beans I use in the glaze.”
But the innovative process never ends. Each hour, the doughnut shop adds a different flavor to its lengthy selection. Of course, no craft doughnut is complete without a piping hot cup of locally roasted coffee, and Joe’s Dough answers the call by serving java from Enderly Coffee Co. Taste Joe’s decadent, dough-filled wonders on Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to midnight and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends just got a whole lot sweeter.
Plan a tasty retreat to Joe’s Doughs at joesdoughs.com
This article ran in the November 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.