I’ve known Josh Danoff, the man behind Somerville-based Culinary Cruisers for nearly a year. And from our first conversation last January, I knew to expect big things from him and his business in the future.
It started with selling on-tap kombucha at local farmers markets and festivals, continued with the introduction of Ocean Ave Pops in a variety of delectable flavors and now the company has introduced its latest big idea: donuts.
The puffy pillows of sweet goodness are being produced in collaboration with Heather Schmidt from City Chicks/Modern Homemade (think of them like modern home ec classes), who also works out of Kitchen Inc. (201 Somerville Ave.).
Danoff and Schmidt became fast friends when they both began working out of the shared use kitchen near Union Square and when Danoff need someone to do donut R&D, he knew who to call.
“I work with Josh at Kitchen Inc. and we really hit it off,” Schmidt said. He called her just before Thanksgiving and said, “I think we should do donuts and it should be a collaboration.” After a few weeks of testing donut recipes, Union Square Donuts debuted at the Somerville Local First holiday market on December 2.
“When you work so hard on something, you want it to be well-received,” Schmidt said of the donuts’ debut. “I want people to love them. These are my little donut babies.”
Schmidt, pictured above at the new retail space at Kitchen Inc. (201 Somerville Ave.), decided to do a yeast donut rather than a cake donut because they’re lighter, can be filled and act as a blank canvas. She has dozens of flavor ideas swirling around, like orange cardamom and Meyer lemon.
“There’s more diversity with a yeasted donut,” Schmidt said. “I have a million ideas for flavors.”
So far the feedback has been very positive, with people Tweeting and Facebooking photos of themselves noshing on the giant yeast donuts.
“It made me really happy to see people eating the donuts and enjoying them,” Schmidt said. “When you look at their faces, you can see it when they take that first bite. People seemed happy.”
And now everyone in Somerville can get their hands on a Union Square Donut at the new retail space at Kitchen Inc. (201 Somerville Ave.) Union Square Donuts opened its doors to the public for the first time on Valentine’s Day and quickly sold out of its treats, which come in flavors like maple bacon and chocolate chipotle. (I was partial to the dulce de leche cinnamon roll.)
“Kitchen Inc. is awesome, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without it,” Schmidt said. “It’s given me a home for my business and put me in touch with cool people. None of us would be moving forward without it. I feel very, very fortunate to be there.”
Union Square Donuts
16 Bow St.
Thursday-Sunday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.