Doughbot returns with new space, new owner and menu featuring vegan donuts, baos and katsu sandos



The time to celebrate is near for fans of Sacramento’s old Doughbot: A new iteration of the beloved, partially vegan donut shop reopens in early November near Southside Park on 10th Street between T and U, a stone’s throw from the original space (now occupied by the Japanese restaurant Binchoyaki) has been located. Japanese-inspired konbini (convenience store) slash cafe is a nod to the neighborhood’s cultural status as Sacramento’s Japantown, and arrives with even more vegan verve than you can get with a pink lemonade dunker. .

New owner and local real estate developer Kevin Khasigian, as well as chief consultant Mike Thiemann, are doubling down on the original concept (the vegan donut was considered a novelty in 2011, when the OG boutique opened) by offering other products to take out and take out. go happily without animal products like katsu sandwiches stuffed with vegetables and bao rolls in addition to the artisan vegan donuts.

The pink-lemonade-lavender donut sprinkled with fresh flower petals

“You won’t even know they’re vegans,” promises Khasigian, who bought the business from the original owners, Bryan Widener and Dannah O’Donnell, just before shutting down the business in 2014. “You won’t say not, ‘That’s good for a vegan donut.’

As a devout omnivore, I have spoken these words of disappointment before and as such have learned to give prominence to vegan food, but I can attest with pleasure to Khasigian’s bold claim. . For example, biting into the pink lemonade donut for the first time was a fluffy, puckered peak experience, far below my expectations. During a multi-month R&D process, Thiemann, who developed his plant-based skills at his downtown vegetarian restaurant Mother, which closed in January 2020, researched his dough recipes. favorite dives in childhood donuts when he discovered a secret ingredient that made Winchell’s pastries. Donut House so addicting: potatoes. As hydrating bombs, potatoes – in Doughbot’s case, freshly mashed roux rather than dry potato flour – give a new proprietary dough the pleasant texture of Japanese milk bread: fluffy and melt-in-the-mouth. mouth, with a deliciously wispy stretch. While the chef has asked me to write most of the ingredients for his masterful new recipe, I’ll reveal just one: Miyoko’s vegan butter, made in Sonoma County.

“Vegan fat substitutes have come a long way, even since Mother was open,” says Thiemann, who cooked Doughbot’s original cookbook and plans to take on many flavors, from chai to Earl Gray to Khasigian’s favorite, The Dude. a cream-filled donut with Russian white icing. While I can predict that even old-school monsters will be won over by the very pretty pink-lemonade-lavender (the fresh marigold flower petals impart a subtle flavor to help lift the lavender note), as a sucker for the shiny things, I also voraciously consumed the Blueberry Galaxy, whose fresh berry and vanilla bean frosting is sprinkled with a cosmos of edible sprinkles. Chai Krispy is more earthy and spicy thanks to the icing infusion of Chico Chai, a blend of Assam black tea with cardamom, cloves and star anise with a layer of puffed brown rice for chips, crackers and pop.

Stuffed bao rolls

Vegan bao bun with oyster mushrooms with five spices

But the dough applications aren’t just donuts. Bao buns, from carnivores’ favorite char siu pork to vegan five-spice oyster mushrooms, also use the same dough. The same goes for the fruit-filled seasonal malasadas, a tribute to Hawaiian-Portuguese pastry. What about tea-sandwich-thin bread for Japanese sandwiches? Khasigian and Thiemann might as well start trucking taters now. The egg sando salad comes with the trendy sunrise boiled egg in the middle, made popular in the United States by Konbi in Los Angeles, while the golden panko-fried katsu varieties – both the traditional pork chop and Meaty Eggplant – are topped with a miso coleslaw with rice wine vinegar and spread with Thiemann’s “doctored kewpie sauce”. A full liquor bar and java menu – offered in fresh and canned options by one of Khasigian’s other businesses, Naked Coffee (which he bought last year) – the identity of Doughbot 2.0 is also aimed at to be newly persistent.

japanese sandwich

This golden panko-fried katsu sandwich features a traditional pork cutlet and is topped with a miso coleslaw, rice wine vinegar and Thiemann’s “doctored kewpie sauce” spread.

For the 2,700 square foot raw industrial space on the ground floor of Khasigian’s Southside apartment building, local designer Whitney Johnson (known for her work on other downtown projects like Shady Lady Saloon and Bottle & Barlow) came up with a look inspired by the science of dough: like molecules, modular geometric tables can separate to form private two-top tables or longer community tables. A custom hex tile will cover an entire wall, but in some places it will indeed shatter atomic. Two wordless neon installations, a coffee and a donut and a pizza – Buffalo Pizza, owned and operated by high school friend Khasigian, also moving into the Doughbot space – will hang on the back wall.

Doughbot logo

A mural featuring Doughbot’s new mascot – a mid-century throwback of a robot with brain paste created by local brand studio Yellow Brick Group – will preside over the entire operation, for which Thiemann is offering his own guarantee: “Sacramento is going to panic over this place.

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