This is where we find out precisely who the truly devoted readers of Inside of Knoxville – and true doughnut lovers – really are. As of 7:00 AM this morning, Makers Donuts not only opens, but owners Sean and Sara Alsobrooks will be dishing out a free confection to each customer until they are gone. You early readers are in luck, while the rest of you will likely need to wait until tomorrow for your first taste.
The long-anticipated doughnut shop has proven to be no different than all the other businesses in that everything required to prepare and ultimately open the doors has taken just a bit longer than anticipated. The couple open Remedy Coffee (to instant success, I might add) just a few weeks ago and what followed was a long trial-and-error experience to develop the perfect doughnuts they want to serve. I’m told they’ve broken the code.
Today the couple will offer two of the varieties you’ll get to know in coming weeks: Maple Bacon and Chocolate Ganache with sea salt. Having a hard time deciding which you’d reach for? Me, too. Starting tomorrow morning you’ll find those two along with about ten others which will constitute a normal offering. The couple told me they’ll have about a dozen choices each day, which will include six you can always expect and rotating choices among the others.
And they are more than ready to get started. Sean said, “I feel like it’s been the longest doughnut opening in the world.” They’ve been testing to make sure the doughnuts look good, taste good and are consistent. The Remedy baristas have sacrificed by taste-testing numerous batches. It’s tricky. Sara said it’s taught her that her skills are best used up-front, greeting customers, with a little doughnut decorating on the side.
With all the exploration of wide-ranging ideas and experimentation, Sara said it has felt like “an artist studio.” The Bourbon Blueberry doughnut was a lot of fun as they experimented with precisely how much of the whiskey should be added and continued to up the amount as they went. Everyone has been cross-trained to do the various tasks and they will arrive at 4:00 AM each day they are open in order to have fresh product waiting for you at 7:00 AM.
You’ll find local products like Cruze Farm milk, Benton’s bacon and Mother Earth meats. Other products come from Three Rivers Market and the couple anticipates using local fruits and berries when those are in season. You’ll find the same Intelligentsia coffee served at Remedy, though for fancy coffee drinks you’ll have to step next door. While not present initially, Sean said they will definitely have a gluten-free doughnut soon. They’ve also given thought to a vegan doughnut, but have figured that out just yet as the food is, after all, fried in lard – very high quality lard, I’m told.
Some things you’ll find, once they officially open on Saturday morning: A Cinnamon Sugar Cider Mill doughnut inspired by the doughnuts people commonly enjoy with cider in the apple orchards of their native Michigan each fall. You’ll also find 50 cent “shooters” of Cruze Farm milk to go with a single doughnut, delivered on cute metal serving trays stashed between the slats of the re-purposed pallets behind the counter.
The new location will share a patio with Remedy in good weather and parking will be street parking just like it has been for Remedy. Sean pointed out that parking has made all the difference for the new location and said, again, how much he appreciates the city making changes to allow it. They are enjoying being situated beside beautiful Gray Cemetery and were excited recently to realize they can see the city skyline through the trees now that they are bare. They are both very high on the potential of their immediate surrounding area which they are calling Downtown North.
The regular hours, beginning Saturday, will be Thursday through Sunday, 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM, though those hours might expand. Both Remedy and Makers will be open late next Friday (First Friday). Regular prices are $2 per doughnut, $12 for a half-dozen and $18 for a dozen. Coffee is $2.50, but a doughnut/coffee combo is $4.