The mini doughnut craze has officially made its way into St. Petersburg.Mini Doughnut Factory St Pete officially opened for business on Friday. The location at 730 4th Street North puts the restaurant just north of the heart of downtown and widely accessible for the surrounding neighborhoods and in perfect eyesight of the busy 4th street commuter traffic.
It's the second store for owners Patrick and Zuzera Ruddell and the parents of two teenagers are close to opening a third store opening near downtown Orlando early in 2018. The business model, as Patrick explained, was to be in downtown areas where the spot can be as accessible to foot and bike traffic as it is those arriving by car. But the heart of the business is, of course, the people that enjoy these flavor-packed mini delights.
"I want to make people happy and the best feeling I get is when you try three little doughnuts and it makes you so happy you want to give me a hug," Patrick Ruddell said. "That gives me the most joy. When me and my wife started this business two years ago we wanted to put smiles on people's faces."
While it appeared that many of the patrons for Thursday night's soft opening were familiar with the menu, I was a newbie and decided to bring my friend Casey, a social media professional and amateur baker, along for some additional input. Casey told me she gets inspiration from going to places like the Mini Doughnut Factory and mixing up different flavors to test on her cupcakes.
"You can come in here and try anything and that's exciting to me because I might wonder how two or three flavors can mix and complement each other and I can test that out here."
On Thursday we decided to stick to the regular menu to keep things moving while waiting in line we overheard rumblings of a secret menu. Casey had the Sweet Pig (maple icing and real bacon bits), espresso chip (espresso icing, mini chocolate chips and caramel drizzle) and the Fruity Pebbles (lemon icing and Fruity Pebbles cereal). I also chose the Fruity Pebbles for one of my minis and opted for Cookies & Cream (vanilla icing and crushed chocolate sandwich cookies) and The Homer Simpson (strawberry icing and rainbow sprinkles).
After one bite of the Homer Simpson I was sold. It's hard to imagine something so good but yet so small and with each bite, it got better. Casey loved hers as well although she thought the Sweet Pig could have used a touch more maple icing. When Casey mentioned this it was suggested we try the Sweet Pig with a sriracha drizzle and we were brought one to sample.
I don't even LIKE sriracha but the mixture of spicy and sweet was legit. I would get a box of those and not share them with anyone.
If you're familiar with the Mini Doughnut Factoryin South Tampa then you will be familiar with the new location as well. The milkshakes and sundaes will be available along with the chocolate cake doughnuts on Saturday and Sunday and the blueberry cake doughnuts after 9 a.m. on Sunday.
But there's more.
The St. Pete location will roast their own coffee with a beautiful machine that can best be described as the Cadillac of coffee roasting machines. Beer and wine and mimosas will be available along with teas and other soft drinks. But Patrick Ruddell had added another surprise that might be perfect for those looking to start 2018 with a bang.
Introducing The Golden Mini.
It's a vanilla cake mini drizzled with lemon icing, lemon zest, a serving of caviar that would go for $150/ounce at a restaurant and edible gold flakes. This amazing creation will be sold in boxes of 25 and paired with a bottle of Dom Perignon for $450.00! Forget a pair of cheaply-made shoes, the real big ballers of 2018 will be eating mini doughnuts with caviar and golden flakes.
"I want to make an exciting experience for the customers that come into Mini Doughnut Factory," Patrick Ruddell said. "We want to offer something special and never seen before like The Golden Mini."
Might take me a while to get to the Golden Mini level but I will gladly spend $18.15 for a box of 25 Sweet Pigs with sriracha.
Mini Doughnut Factory St. Pete is opened with a splash and you can now visit 7 days a week, 6:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Sunday-thru-Thursday and 6:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturday.
Photos by Corey Long