You may not have noticed it, but Westport has gotten really sweet really fast.
As we enter the New Year, the famed late-night entertainment, eating and drinking area has not one, but two new dessert-centric businesses: The Doughnut Lounge and Insomnia Cookies. Clearly, entrepreneurs see a “sweet spot” in Westport.
“We’re trying to cultivate a community,” said Josh Scurlock, Doughnut Lounge’s bar manager. “We want a place where people can come and grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut or a cocktail and just talk. Westport seemed the perfect place for that.”
Doughnut Lounge, at 4117 Pennsylvania Ave., is a unique concept. It’s a doughnut shop with a full bar — and not just that. The doughnuts and drinks aren’t just made fresh every day, they’re conceived every day.
“We have a new doughnut and a new cocktail to be paired with that doughnut crafted every day. It’s called the ‘Drink of the Moment,’ and it’s made with all top-shelf liquor from the bar and fresh ingredients from the kitchen,” Scurlock said.
The man behind the culinary offerings is Executive Chef Tye Eckert. There’s no relation, but I have to support an Eckert in the kitchen, right? Eckert’s menu is both extensive and eclectic.
There are classic offerings, which run from glazed to double chocolate doughnuts, signature offerings, both sweet and savory, noduts, described as a “meal in a doughnut,” and breakfast noduts, which really need no explanation.
I tried the classic Old Fashioned and a Carrot Cake doughnut from the signature offerings. The Old Fashioned was good, but the Carrot Cake, which was created the day of my visit, was amazing, one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. It was crispy and creamy at the same time —sweet, but not too sweet, and utterly delicious!
I asked Scurlock what type of cocktail he’d create for the Carrot Cake.
“Rum-based, for sure, but I don’t want it to be too sweet and cloying,” he said.
I would have gone in to see what he’d come up with, but they were closed by the time I got off work.
The Doughnut Lounge is open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. There is no doughnuts, drinking or lounging on Wednesdays.
By the way, a word to the wise. The Doughnut Lounge cooks up 2,000 to 3,000 doughnuts every morning and is usually sold out by 10 or 11. The next batch doesn’t arrive until 4 p.m.
The sweet experiences in Westport extend even later into the early morning at Insomnia Cookies, located right around the corner from The Doughnut Lounge at 503 Westport Road.
Founded in a college dorm at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Insomnia Cookies hopes to capitalize on three basic principles.
“Insomnia Cookies was born out of the dislike of heavy meals late at night, the love of food delivery and the realization that by the time you get hungry at night, nothing is open,” Chief Operating Officer Davis Lasus said.
Lasus said his personal favorite is the Deluxe S’mores, but he said Insomnia also offers limited-time flavors that have become customer favorites. He advises locals to watch out for those.
Delivery is a big part of the business. Insomnia Cookies will deliver from noon until 3 a.m. daily. You can also drop by the Westport Road location and buy right from the store. It’s open from 11 a.m. until 3 a.m. daily.
Seems like the folks at Doughnut Lounge could hit up Insomnia on their way home and the workers at Insomnia could grab a doughnut on their way to the office in the morning. Perfect, sweet symmetry in Westport.
Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.