Donut Crazy

New Haven gets Donut Crazy, store opens to waiting crowds

Donut Crazy had a sweet opening last week.

Through word of mouth and social media, the crowds showed up to get a free doughnut on Thursday, whether it was the popular maple bacon, cannoli, apple pie or Nutella variety.

They were back at the shop’s 290 York St. location Friday paying full price for the oversized treats, walking out with boxes of them to share with friends.

Ken, 22, who goes to the University of New Haven, and Sav, 20, of Wesleyan University, got a taste on Thursday and returned for a larger order the next day.

They first shared an apple crumby doughnut and then a French toast doughnut. Their expanded purchase included a regular glazed, a red velvet glazed, a birthday cake covered with sprinkles, apple pie, sweet salted caramel and a cannoli.

They figured this would hold them for awhile.

Jason Wojnarowski, the owner, said staff welcomed their first customers at 7 a.m., and they plan to stay open late, to between 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. weekdays and maybe 2:30 a.m. on the weekends, depending on the demand.

There are 25 workers with shifts around the clock from the bakers making the doughnuts to those who staff the outlet.

They anticipate serving a crowd early in the day before people go to work but also those stopping in after the bars shut down for a breakfast sandwich of bacon, egg and cheese on a glazed doughnut.

There is always the Donut Go Crazy Burger, which has glazed doughnuts with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato — but no burger.

You can go more traditional with cream cheese on a bagel, a sandwich of eggs, meat and cheese or an omelette. There is also avocado toast.

It’s the doughnuts, however, that brought in most people Friday, who got to try a few new specials.

Big Blue “Go Yale” is a cake doughnut with blueberry buttercream filling and blueberry frosting covered with pie crust streusel. Apple cranberry is a raised doughnut, which includes “cheesy apples” and cranberries topped with cranberry icing and dried cranberries.

Wojnarowski said he has a shop in Stratford, another in Shelton across from the Sports Center of Connecticut and a small satellite store in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. A Westport location is next on his list.

He said he designed his New Haven store to be comfortable with colorful walls and an inviting presence. Wojnarowski, 42, said he tried to make it look “non-commercial.”

“I think it is what New Haven needed,” Wojnarowski said. “Just come in and enjoy any one of the products — maybe even none,” he said, looking around at the students settling in with their laptops.

Wojnarowski said the family construction business, Wojnarowski & Sons, comes in and does the fit-out at their store locations. He is part of that business as well.

“We wear a lot of hats,” he said. “There are a lot of families to feed.”

His landlord is Anthony Kautroumanis, who owns Yorkside Pizza next door, one of the few properties on that block of York Street not owned by Yale University.

Leasing a space in the heart of Yale and near Toad’s Place music club seemed like the perfect location, the new tenant said.

Wojnarowski said when they first started in the food business, they planned to have three or four special doughnuts and change them every week or two.

After people started coming in requesting the specials by name, however, Wojnarowski said they decided to offer 16 special doughnuts a day, along with the more traditional ones.

The specials are called “crazies,” and they are $3.25 a piece, while the regular doughnuts are $1.95 each. (The calorie counts were not posted.)

The lines came and went on Friday, starting with construction workers in the area stopping in for breakfast, said Rita Torres, the front end supervisor. A popular choice was the El Nino sandwich which has jalapeno bacon, along with eggs and cheese.

Matthew Nemerson, economic development administrator for the city, said officials always want new small businesses to come to New Haven.

“It is great for people to walk down the street and discover new things. That’s what makes a city great,” Nemerson said.


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