While the area just north of Broadway and Central doesn’t yet have a proper name, it’s about to become our de facto sugar district with the addition of another sweets shop joining Magpies. Makers Donuts, which completed a successful Kickstarter campaign on May 1 with $5,496, is renovating 804 Tyson St., a reclaimed garage that was once the home of the Knoxville Children’s Theatre. Tyson, which connects Broadway and Bernard Avenue behind Dixie Kitchen, is a quiet little L-shaped road that skirts along the edge of Old Gray and the Knoxville National cemeteries.
The donut shop, a brainchild of Sean and Sara Alsobrooks, the founders of Remedy Coffee, is tentatively scheduled for an August opening, though Sean Alsobrooks says that the permit process is unpredictable. “Our permits, approvals, and inspection—all that takes longer than you think,” he says. “Hopefully, we should have our building permit in the next couple of weeks, and we can get in there and start making it look like a donut shop.”
There are two spaces in the building; Makers will be located in the smaller of the two, on the right side of the building as you face it, marked by a new glass garage door. “It will be tight, but it’s a good place for us to start,” Alsobrooks says. “We’ll have the patio space out front.” He expects most of their future business to be takeaway, though he says there will be 12 seats inside.
In addition to donuts, Makers will offer “all the stuff you need for drinking with donuts,” Alsobrooks says. That will include milk and coffee, but don’t expect the specialty coffee drinks that you find at Remedy. The donut itself will be a vanilla-based cake. Despite what you might think, a cake donut isn’t baked,
“It’s deep-fried in lard, which isn’t the healthiest thing, but it’s a good fat to fry in,” Alsobrooks says. “It doesn’t go rancid. It’s a better taste. It’s not health-conscious, really, but it’s the right way to do donuts.”
But there’s some question about what kind of lard the shop will use. Lard can be a pure and natural fat, or it can be hydrogenated; unfortunately, the process of hydrogenation adds particularly unwelcome trans fats. When asked about that fact, Alsobrooks confesses some vacillation,
“We’ve gone back and forth. I think we’re gonna go with the hydrogenated,” Alsobrooks says. “We haven’t nailed that down a hundred percent, but I’ve been doing a lot of research to figure that out, I need to talk with some of my culinary friends. I don’t know for sure.”
Despite the question about which lard to use, Alsobrooks seems certain that “we’ll have some good-tasting lard.”
Plus, the holey treats will be handcrafted and unique. “Our donuts will be made to order, so we’ll have eight or nine, maybe 10 seasonal toppings and icing,” Alsobrooks says. “You start with a blank donut and you get to decide what you want on your donuts … and we ice them, make them, top them, and hand them to you. Your dozen will be your dozen.”
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