If you’ve been filling your slouched, mid-winter body with doughnuts lately, you’re not alone.
From where I’m reclining, the last few weeks have been a real fried dough fest — I’m talking mochi doughnuts, Polish paczki and, the latest, potato-filled morning sweets.
Berkeley Donuts opened Wednesday inside Hops & Pie on Tennyson Street — and the little guys have been causing quite a stir already, according to Berkeley’s head doughnut baker Audie Mauk.
You see, there are real Colorado potatoes inside these doughnuts, but not wedges or pockets of mash, as such. Instead, the potato is mixed in with the flour to make a dough that’s fluffier and a doughnut that’s more tender, Mauk says.
“Growing up in the Northeast, I would go to local shops where the doughnuts had a crispy outside and an elegant, cake-like inside. The texture was so different from other doughnuts,” he explained.
That internal elegance and hard exterior is on full display each morning at Hops & Pie’s counter, where cool lemon poppy seeds and sexy caramel black lava sea salt varieties are lined up, looking like doughnut supermodels in the display case.
Berkeley Donuts will always carry some cake varieties and others that are sourdough-raised, made from the sister pizza shop’s 8-year-old sourdough starter. And in case you have any doubts about a pizza and beer bar that decides also to sell doughnuts later in life, here’s a sign of Mauk’s dedication to his craft:
“When I first went to culinary school, I just wanted to open a doughnut shop,” he said.
Then, as one does, Mauk got lost in the kitchen life at restaurants such as Fruition and Table 6. He thought to himself, “I make cool food, I’m a chef and I’m awesome. I’m not going to make doughnuts now.”
Years later, Mauk left a restaurant position in Washington, D.C., to come back to Colorado and fulfill his doughnut destiny. Together with Hops & Pie owner and chef Drew Watson, he’s finally living that doughnut dream. And we can all benefit from it, at least until spring, when we must leave the couch.
3920 Tennyson St., 303-477-7000, 7:30 a.m. until sold out Wednesday through Sunday, doughnuts from $2.50 to $3.75, berkeleydonuts.com