By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH
“These doughnuts must be something,” I thought, as I arrived at Sugar Shack, the new doughnut shop that opened on William Street on Sept. 4, to find that the parking lot at the front of the building full along with the three or four blocks adjacent to the building.
Sugar Shack’s first store opened in June 2013 in Richmond, according to its website. It earned a reputation in RVA, with a second store opening in Richmond and winning best doughnut shop, best small business and best in food and dining in a local publication, according to the Richmond Magazine.
Its popularity, in no small part, is due to its tasty doughnuts, spread outside of Richmond and reached national attention. For example, Sugar Shack was featured in Reader’s Choice as one of USA Today’s top 10 doughnuts in the country and also made appearances in both “Style Weekly” and “Martha Stewart Living.”
After arriving at the building and walking inside, the line stretched across the store and wrapped all the way at the end of the wall past the condiment stand with sugar and cream and snaked toward the register.
At this point, I probably should not have been surprised. But I could not help looking around as the line moved systematically, as families and young adults took out purses, as children talked and yelled and as people ate doughnuts and drank coffee outside against tall white pillars, at the exact spot where gas pumps used to be.
I felt buoyed and filled with hope as the line moved and I saw I was close to the register. An employee asked what box and type of doughnuts I would like. I said a half dozen with sprinkles.
“Vanilla or chocolate?”
I looked at the glass display. There were chocolate covered doughnuts sprinkled with peanuts, and a few that looked like they were carefully topped with breakfast cereal: Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Coco Puffs.
The doughnuts are separated into three different types: house doughnuts, specialty and monster. Each with a separate cost, the house doughnut at $1.20, the specialties at $1.90 and monster at $2.50, before tax.
You can also buy them in bulk, a half dozen beginning at $7.20 and the dozen, which is the limit, starts at $13.65.
According to Sugar Shack’s website, coffee beans are ground by the baristas the moment you order a cup. They have coffee, espresso and specialty drinks, including honey lavender lattes and a drink called Generra, a cinnamon mocha with fresh orange peel.
The Generra costs $3.84 for a small and the honey lavender $3.79. If you go for less fancy coffee, a small Zeke’s coffee is $1.79. Zeke’s Coffee is a family based coffee business from Washington, D.C.
I tried the Kit-Kat doughnut and the Reese doughnut as well as the Generra coffee. The Kit-Kat doughnut is considered a specialty doughnut and the Reese’s one, a house doughnut. The Generra was refreshing, with fresh orange rinds in the bottom of the cup. You can taste the orange.
I took the doughnuts back the school, where I ate them while reading before class. They make an excellent companion to a study session and a good gift to share with your buds. Thanks to Sugar Shack for sharing their doughnuts with us.
The store and its employees are taking on “soft training,” or operating the store with limited hours to best train the employees, according to Ian Kelley, the founder and owner of Sugar Shack.
This past weekend, they were open until 3 p.m., but stay open until 9 p.m. on normal weekday hours. At other locations, they may stay open until 11 p.m., providing the perfect fix for those late night study sessions.