Even though rings — and those leftover holes — of fried dough can be found in at least half a dozen food cultures, doughnuts originally washed up on these shores with Dutch immigrants.
The cakes, once known as “oly koeks,” have since become “one of the culinary emblems of the USA,” Alan Davidson notes in “The Penguin Companion to Food.”
Recently, designer doughnut shops featuring wacky flavors, high-quality artisan ingredients or clever presentations have been trending across the nation. In December, college buddies Jake Randall and Tye Eckert opened the Doughnut Lounge in Westport.
They, of course, offer the classics, such as glazed and iced chocolate, as well as signature flavors including maple bacon and lemon ricotta. Because doughnuts have a notoriously short shelf life, fresh-baked batches hit the cases daily at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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“It’s a new concept to sell out of things,” Randall says.
But perhaps an even more foreign concept is their made-to-order savory “noduts” paired with craft cocktails.
Imagine buttermilk-brined fried chicken and a glazed doughnut drizzled with a Sriracha-style hot sauce paired with the Signet (whisky, vermouth and bitters). Or braised beef served with pumpkin butter-filled doughnut holes, Greek yogurt and pickled carrots, paired with the Hardly Questioned (rum, pumpkin, spices and egg white).
“It’s where doughnut meets entree,” Randall says. “There are no parameters. We’re just scratching the surface right now.”
▪ Doughnut Lounge, 4117 Pennsylvania Ave., 816-659-3688, doughnutlounge.com