First there was Cupcake, then there was Macaroon (now with a second location). With the recent and closely timed openings of P.I.E. and Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts (both within a chocolate quarter’s throw from one another), Upper King Street just got even sweeter.
It’s a nifty and whimsical trend that’s well-suited to the eclectic crowd – from farmers’ market denizens to COC students, families and business types – that flock to this hip part of town for food, art, and drink. For Pastry Chef Allison Smith, who opened Glazed back in early October, it’s all for the love of pastry, especially doughnuts. A 9- year veteran of the F & B business, the Culinary Institute of Charleston grad left her most recent post at Anson to dedicate herself entirely to her funky, fun and delightfully delicious new doughnut shop. For Smith, the time to make the doughnuts is 3 a.m. on weekdays when she joins her staff of two bakers to crank out a daily array of at least 8 – 10 rotating doughnut flavors.
Smith has two core recipes for the doughnuts: cake and yeast. While the cake doughnut is crumbly, tender on the inside, and crunchy on the outside, it’s the yeast doughnuts (almost exclusively the “glazed” variety) that truly shine, in more ways than one. She tweaked her recipe over the years, comparing and contrasting it with “tons” of others she encountered to come up with her own. The results are airy and irresistible. It’s the kind of doughnut that slightly resists with sweet crunch as you sink your teeth into it, then slowly implodes and melts into its delicious self, until it’s all gone, leaving a lingering happy memory in its admittedly fattening wake.
Glazed cranks out at least 8 to 10 doughnut flavors daily. Glazed fans can count on at least 7 doughnut regulars daily: raspberry glazed, berry-filled, cream-filled, “some kind of chocolate,” and two “seasonal” doughnuts. Right now, the seasonal choices include Ginger Cranberry and The Sweet Potato topped with a brown butter glaze and pecans, that is until Smith comes up with something new.
As far as coming up with her exceptionally creative and balanced flavor inspirations ( a huge part of the fun for both her and her customers), Smith just rolls with “whatever combinations I like to eat.” For example, yesterday, it was a banana pudding doughnut based upon the “most amazing banana pudding,” she says. Other days, it’s been as inventive and delicious as Strawberry Lime Basil, Salted Caramel Apple and The Purple Goat filled with berry goat cheese and a lavender glaze. It’s pairings such as these that give some of Glazed doughnuts an almost savory edge; a kind of true “cook’s” doughnut not unlike the many delicious mixed drinks being muddled and concocted at nearby bars and restaurants such as The Cocktail Club and The Belmont. At the latter, the drinks seem more like a layered, complex meal to be savored, while the former definitely are a testament to Smith’s ability to think and bake her way well-outside of the mundane doughnut box.
While a little pricey at almost $2 a pop, Glaze offers a worthwhile indulgence for any bona fide doughnut lover. There is coffee, too, and the always welcome service with a smile.
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts
481 King Street, Charleston
Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.