When Wylie Dufresne says he’s always wanted to open a doughnut shop, it’s not entirely a surprise. Throughout his career, the chef has displayed creative tendencies and a curiosity that lead to new versions of iconic dishes like Wd~50’s eggs Benedict. In fact, come to think of it, Du’s Donuts and Coffee opening next week in the William Vale Hotel, makes perfect sense.
Since closing his sophomore restaurant Alder in August 2015, Dufresne has consulted for restaurants like Soho Tiffin Junction and collaborated with chef friends like Dominique Ansel. He’s also spent a block of time quietly perfecting a doughnut recipe in the basement kitchen of The Nomad. “We spent a lot of time on the doughnut itself,” says Dufresne: three months, to be exact.
What he and head baker Colin Kull, formerly of San Francisco’s Tartine, ended up with was a cake doughnut, a perfectly round, light-as-air variety that Dufresne likens to an inner tube. Du’s will sell ten variations of cake doughnuts, including the strawberry and cream that’s slightly acidic, reminiscent of strawberry Nesquik — a result of freeze-dried strawberries.
A creamsicle doughnut, one that Dufresne says was harder to perfect, tastes of orange and the faintest note of passionfruit. Then there’s one called banana graham, dusted with Golden Grahams and filled with a banana flavor. A malted coffee doughnut has subtle java hints, derived from Brooklyn Roasting Company, the local brand that will also be providing the coffee at Du’s.
Dufresne says he paid particular attention to every detail around the doughnuts, like ensuring glaze doesn’t transfer to fingers when picking it up. It’s a feat that’s similar to how Elmer’s dries around the top of a glue bottle, a card that Dufresne is keeping close. “My hope is that somewhere along the way people will pay attention to the doughnut itself and not simply what’s on top of it,” says Dufresne.
Beyond doughnuts, the team will eventually serve traditional New York egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches and expanding beyond coffee with cocktails, wine, and beer. “I love that people can enjoy a cocktail old fashioned with an old-fashioned doughnut,” he said. Dufresne is also already thinking about future collaborations with other chefs, too.
Du’s Donuts and Coffee will swing open on Wednesday, April 26, marking the return of the famous chef. Take a look round the mighty 1,600 square foot space below, and let us know what you think when you stop by.