Last August, the Miami-based doughnut shop The Salty Donut announced it was coming to the Bishop Arts District and I wrote about the coming of its first location outside of Florida, set to land in our fair city.
Now, it’s one of those businesses that has the uncertain privilege of opening in the midst of a pandemic, even as people are tiptoeing back. The shop will open June 2 for delivery and pickup exclusively.
In Miami, the trendy, Instagram-pretty spot with exuberantly topped doughnuts peddles the flavors of Miami: guava and cream cheese with crushed Galleta Maria cookies sprinkled on top; white chocolate tres leches; café con leche; or passion fruit.
Here, in the 2,500-square foot space that’s decked out with everything in the South Florida commissary, they’ve gone local, with bacon from Rudolph’s Meat Market that’s rendered glossy and candied with an Oak Cliff Brewery Black Lager reduction and thrown atop the classic 24-hour rested and risen brioche confection, whose flavor comes from the egg- and butter- enriched dough and fermentation; a Ruby Red doughnut with the namesake Texas citrus woven into a curd and powdered sugar; and a play on Texas sheet cake. Other “always” flavors include the decadence of a cake doughnut with brown butter and Maldon sea salt; and one soaked in horchata and topped with swirls of torched meringue.
The shop has hand-painted signage by an Oak Cliff artist and murals that represent collaborations between local artists and the Toronto-based artist whose work unifies all the locations. They’ve built the space, even if only its patio will serve for now.
“Our original thought was, let’s wait for this to blow over and do our usual grand opening,” a bonanza of parties and “all sorts of crazy events for a week straight,” says cofounder Andy Rodriguez. He and his wife and cofounder Amanda Pizarro-Rodriguez began with pop-ups out of a vintage camper in 2015, and Pizarro-Rodriguez was named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2018. (The story sounds familiar: cool, trendy, wildly successful business, grown out of a pop-up, led by young entrepreneurs with their intentions set behind quality ingredients.)
Usually, the communally focused, neighborhood-specific vibe includes extras like free weekend CrossFit or yoga classes followed by coffee (the Chicago-based Intelligentisa) and doughnuts. “It’s what makes us us. We want people chilling and hanging out outside. And we can’t do that right now. And it pains me,” Rodriguez says. But he has hopes for a ramping up in the future. “This is phase one; there’s a lot more to come.”
Recalling their origins, Rodriguez says the entrepreneurs saw Dallas as not dissimilar to South Florida. “There’s a wave of this stuff that’s starting to push, starting to blossom and we’re at the cusp of that,” he remembers the couple thinking. “It was exciting. And we saw a lot of parallels to that in Dallas,” with its “artisanal, craft, farm-to-table-esque dining scene [that’s] just exploding.”
These are different times, and we are so unused to novel openings or ideas of travel—Miami? What’s that?—it might as well be coming from the moon. “We basically had to relearn how to run our business, which has been challenging, exciting, frustrating, awesome, all at the same time,” Rodriguez admits. “It reminds me a lot of those first days when it was very hands-on, and we were circumnavigating the city, and there was a lot of pains to get it to this point. In that sense, it was very reminiscent of those days.”
It’s a reminder, too, that there can be openings as well as closings. That we live in a complex time. But, even so, it’s joining a handful in the same position in the Bishop Arts area: I’ve noted a few retail windows fill—the swanky kitchen supply-centered Ettiene Market from McKinney, a salon, and others.