Knoxvillians are guilty of pandemonium over new restaurants. It’s true – we seem to love food and flock in droves to anything remotely interesting in terms of new cuisine – even new chain restaurants! Do you guys remember when Chuy’s arrived in town and you couldn’t get in the door without a 2 hour wait for months? And you still can’t eat at the Cheesecake Factory at any normal meal time without waiting that long, if not longer.
Needless to say, it’s a darn shame that it took Knoxville this long to get a local artisan donut shop. Sure, the hot sign at Krispy Kreme is awful tempting, but I’ll go for a handcrafted donut topped with a unique glaze flavored with seasonal ingredients any day. So when the owners of Remedy decided to open just such place in downtown K-town, you know we had to check it out immediately!
Makers Donuts opened up officially last Friday, January 29th, handing out free donuts to anyone willing to wait in a very long line. They began selling their golden fried goodies on Saturday at 7am offering 6 different flavors – all using their proprietary cake doughnut recipe as the base. Makers is also serving up the same Intelligentsia coffee sold at Remedy coffee right next door, but if you want a specialty coffee beverage you will have to head over there.
The space is off North Broadway near Central in an area of Downtown being referred to as the Downtown North neighborhood. There are quite a few local entrepreneurs pouring money into this part of town to try to revitalize the community and help extend our downtown beyond just Market Square and Gay Street. I think it’s great!! Can’t wait to see what’s going to open next. 😉
Inside Makers doughnut shop they have bar style seating for about 10 guests and say they will offer patio seating in warmer weather. There is a large “driveway” area in front since the building was previously an auto shop or garage of some sort, but there is plenty of free street parking making this location easily accessible, which is great! No driving around for 20 minutes for a parking spot to walk several blocks just for a doughnut or dozen.
Prices are totally reasonable for artisan, handcrafted donuts made with quality local ingredients like Cruze Farms milk and Benton’s bacon. Get a single doughnut for $2 or a dozen for $18 and let’s face it you are going to want a dozen.
Makers displays their flavors for the day in a glass case on top of the front counter and serves them from trays stashed in an old pallet on the wall. It’s the perfect vibe for a local doughnut shop in Downtown North Knoxville – rustic and chic, industrial and modern, simple clean lines, but cozy at the same time.
Each flavor is displayed with a description card providing details about the type of doughnut and it’s ingredients.
They are then boxed up for you in a Makers pizza box.
Now let’s get down to the important details – the doughnuts. What are the flavors and how do they taste? Well, let me start by talking about Makers Original Cake Donut – the base for most of their flavors. It’s a vanilla-based cake doughnut fried in – yep, you guessed it – lard. How very old-fashioned of them and the owners say there really is no other way to do a donut up right – this isn’t health food after all – so why try to make it something it’s not. To me it is the perfect cross between a yeast doughnut and a full fledge Cruller. They were not as light and airy as a regular yeast doughnut, but not nearly as heavy as a dense cake style doughnut. And they were delicious. They say they’ve cracked the doughnut code and doggone it I think they’re right. Makers creates their unique and different varieties by coating them in sugar or topping them with a flavored glaze, which means it is fairly easy for them to whip up a batch of doughnuts and then several different toppings for the day to keep costs down and allow them to focus their attention on continuing to create even more amazing specialty flavors like their matcha green tea with black sesame seeds, which I so want to taste!! But alas they served those Sunday and we were there Saturday…so let’s talk about the flavors we did get to try.
Cider Mill is a cinnamon sugar doughnut inspired by the doughnuts people commonly enjoy with cider in the apple orchards of Michigan each fall where the owners originally hail from.
White Out is a classic powdered doughnut coated with a healthy layer of powdered sugar and reminds me of those bags of tiny white powdered doughnuts from the store. A little messy, but a classic you just have to eat.
Vanilla Bean Glaze is just what it sounds like – the Makers Original Cake donut drenched with a sweet glaze made with real vanilla beans.
Lemon Drop was a burst of bright and tangy lemon flavor from the drizzle of citrus icing on top.
Chocolate Ganache with Sea Salt was just as it sounds – a rich deep chocolate ganache frosting atop their cake doughnut sprinkled with course sea salt. That chocolate ganache was thick, creamy and just lovely – it was perfect.
Finally, this one takes the cake. Maple Bacon was far and away my favorite. Makers Original Cake donut gets topped with a maple glaze infused with Intelligentsia coffee and crunchy Benton’s bacon crumbles. It’s sweet and smokey, but that hint of bold coffee flavor elevates this doughnut to another level. I could eat a dozen of these alone!
We noticed when we were there on Saturday that they do have a few kinks to work out being a brand new business and all – we had to wait about 20 minutes for the lemon drop doughnuts to be ready (but boy were they worth the wait). We arrived early at about 8am and did not have to wait to order, but noticed a line quickly forming behind us and when we left it was just out the door, but moving fast. We got a dozen donuts – two of each flavor available – and noted that while the flavor of the doughnuts was consistent, the size was not. But again, I think this is something they will work out and get down with time. The vanilla bean glaze seemed a bit off to us – it was an overly intense vanilla flavor and a bit on the thin side compared to the one they had displayed. The pizza boxes are a bit large for a dozen (or even less) donuts, so I would suggest they find a boxing method that fits the donuts better. In the car on the way home, I was afraid our donuts were going to end up all smash together and there is nothing worse – well, maybe a smashed cupcake is worse. I would also suggest a rotating menu or at least posting something on Facebook and their website of the daily offering if possible. I imagine this working similar to a small handcrafted cupcake shop and they also have the same few standards available then rotate out seasonally their specialty flavors on a daily basis.
Other than those few minor things, I think they are doing a GREAT job! The service was fast and friendly, the space is exceptional and clean; they went out of their way to make sure everyone was taken care of and like I said they did a great job of keeping the line moving.
We couldn’t be more excited to have delicious locally crafted donuts in our town and we couldn’t be happier for the owners. Our favorite flavors that are a must try: Maple Bacon, Chocolate Ganache with Sea Salt, and Lemon Drop. Flavors we cannot wait to get our hands on: Matcha Green Tea (shocking I know), Cotton Candy and Cherry Pistachio.
So check out Makers Donuts! They are open Thursday – Sunday right now 7am – 1pm (or until they sell out). They are located at 804 Tyson Street in Knoxville.