If gourmet doughnuts are the next big sweet thing in Connecticut, a new bakery in Shelton is poised to rock the craze. Donut Crazy is serving a slew of cream-stuffed, candy-topped and sugar-glazed specialty doughnuts, turning the simple indulgence into exceptional treats.
The shop, in a small River Road plaza across from the Sports Center of Connecticut, has only been open for about five weeks. But thanks to word of mouth – and an increasing number of tagged Instagram posts from excited customers – doughnut lovers have been traveling from as far away as Danbury, Darien and Westport to try unique flavors like Nutella, red velvet and maple bacon.
Owner Jason Wojnarowski said the Shelton shop was built partially out of necessity. His family’s original shop in Stratford, which sells coffee and sandwiches, was looking for a wholesale doughnut supplier. Not satisfied with his options, Wojnarowski decided he’d look into doing it himself. When the space became available in Shelton, he told his landlord he wanted to do “crazy doughnuts.”
“And he said, ‘Sounds like it could work,'” Wojnarowski said. “I wanted to make whatever you couldn’t go get somewhere. The crazier, the better.”
Donut Crazy offers about three dozen flavors each day. About two-thirds of these are traditional favorites (jelly, powdered, cinnamon, chocolate-frosted, glazed) and the rest are a rotating selection of inventive concoctions. The Fat Elvis is a play on the King’s favorite sandwich, with Bavarian cream filling, peanut butter, banana slices, candied bacon and chocolate and honey drizzles. Cherry Bomb is stuffed with lemon filling and topped with cherry frosting, crumb topping and cherries. Kandy Krush, with chocolate ganache and caramel drizzle, is adorned with crushed Kit-Kat bars, and the Coco Loco is for coconut lovers, with flavored cream filling and a coating of toasted flakes. The cannoli doughnut, nicknamed the “Mambo Italiano,” is a best-seller, Wojnarowski said, with traditional ricotta filling and miniature chocolate chips.
Flavors will continue to rotate as the team comes up with more creative recipes. Past offerings have included key lime; “campfire” with marshmallow crème, chocolate and graham cracker dust, and “mud pie” with crushed Oreos and gummy candy. As local fruits like strawberries and peaches come into season, Donut Crazy will feature these in limited-time confections, and there’s a Girl Scout Cookie-inspired chocolate, caramel and coconut presentation in the mix. Wojnarowski says he gets ideas by scouring the Internet, seeing what bakeries in larger cities are creating.
Though sugar is the star at Donut Crazy, you can also grab a bagel with cream cheese, or a breakfast sandwich with choice of eggs, meat and cheese. And if you can’t decide between sweet and savory, there’s a “grilled cheese doughnut,” where the kitchen staff will split a traditional glazed doughnut and warm it on the grill with your choice of cheese. (Add meat or a fried egg for maximum decadence.)
Daily regular doughnuts are $1.50 apiece; $7 for a half-dozen and $12 for a dozen. The specialty doughnuts are $2.75 apiece; breakfast sandwiches are $2 to $4.25. Donut Crazy also offers a full coffee program with espresso beverages, smoothies, Italian soda and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
The team at Donut Crazy works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week creating the fresh doughnuts, Wojnarowski said. An overnight crew is charged with mixing, proofing, frying and finishing the treats by the time the shop opens at 5 a.m., and staffers continue to make doughnuts throughout the day, ensuring guests can still get specialty varieties at all hours. Fresh doughnuts are delivered down the street to the Stratford location.
And though customers’ eyes may be drawn immediately to the doughnut racks, Donut Crazy’s unique design is equally attractive, with hand-lettered chalkboard menus and smooth wooden benches underneath a wall of illuminated marquee letters reading “Let’s Eat Donuts.”
Wojnarowski, whose background is in construction, said he’d had the vision for the décor since the very beginning.
“The shop takes on a whole different feel at night,” he said. “It’s really cool. I love when people sit here and say it’s comfortable and cozy and they don’t want to leave.”
He hopes to pull even more visitors from the Sports Center and employees from nearby Sikorsky, and his current customer base includes an unlikely audience: a group of athletes from Housatonic Valley Crossfit, who come to indulge after workouts.
“If we could create something that people want, and will look forward to…that’s what I wanted to create out of it.” But Wojnarowsk wants it to be a lasting trend:
“I also don’t want to create a novelty, where it’s cool for a little while.”