District Doughnut's long-awaited Barracks Row shop has finally arrived, but it will be open Friday evenings only until its grand debut on Sept. 8. From 6 p.m. until the doughnuts sell out tonight, guests can try the key lime pie and cookies and cream creations. Every Friday for the next four weeks, the shop will sell two new flavors and coffee.
District Doughnut has operated as a catering business for more than two years as owners Greg Menna and Juan Pablo Segura looked for a permanent shop. "We've moved from place to place, like the Israelites in the desert looking for their promised land," says Menna. He says the idea behind the Friday-only launch was to give the staff a chance to hone its operations while many local residents are away on summer vacations.
When it opens officially in September, District Doughnut will offer eight to 10 doughnuts each day, including about five yeast doughnuts, two cake varieties, and one gluten-free offering made with buckwheat flour. Flavors will rotate often, but dulce de leche and brown butter will remain menu staples. Doughnuts will go for $2 to $3 each. (Tonight, both flavors cost $2.50.) Pastry chef Christine Schaefer, who previously ran a gourmet bakery in Buffalo, N.Y., and studied at Le Cordon Bleu, is also collaborating with Cava Mezze chef Dimitri Moshovitis on a secret-for-now pastry that Menna describes as "the next cronut."
The shop is also the first customer of Compass Coffee, a Shaw-based roaster which will soon open its own cafe. Don't expect anything too fancy—District Doughnut will serve only drip coffee.
It's mostly grab-and-go for now, but District Doughnut will add a few bar stools along the windows plus an outdoor patio. Most of the space is devoted to the kitchen, from which guests can see the doughnut production process as they're waiting in line.
"We think people are dying for simplicity," Menna says. "So that's what we're serving."
Get a glimpse of tonight's offerings below:
District Doughnut, 749 8th St. SE; (202) 350-0799; districtdoughnut.com
Photo by Megan Ekhaml of Memorandum Images