Serious Eats: Sweets
First Look: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, Washington, DC
Whether or not you're a fan of savory-sweet combination of fried chicken and doughnuts, 2013 looks like it's going to be a banner year for it in DC. Of the few imminent openings, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken appears to be first on the docket for the new year. Co-owned by former Washington Capital and current New York Ranger Jeff Halpern, and childhood friend Elliot Spaisman, Astro is the product of a mutually shared childhood love of doughnuts. After hockey games, the two would get doughnuts from a local shop, Montgomery Doughnuts, and clearly that memory has not faded. Together with former Fiola pasty chef Jason Gehring, the team has produced an expansive selection of doughnut varieties to pair with their as yet undisclosed fried chicken menu (although Gehring has divulged one upcoming flavor is a tantalizing sounding sriracha glaze).
I had a chance to sit down with Gehring and Spaisman to preview some of the doughnuts ahead of Astro's opening. Astro will have a daily selection of five standards—including a traditional Vanilla Glazed option, a Maple Bacon, and a Peanut Butter & Jelly—and an additional selection of five other flavors that will rotate each weekday. Some of the rotating flavors include more inventive options like a Twink-nut, which is a recreation of the classic Hostess (R.I.P.) treat, and a Creamsicle with orange curd and blood orange glaze. The menu is filled with these clever twists of familiar dishes into doughnut form.
When Astro opens in Chinatown, it will be a grab and go shop catering to the breakfast (they'll have coffee too), lunch, and late afternoon rush. Doughnuts will range from $2 to $3 each. The team is also currently putting on intermittent pop-ups at coffee shops like Chinatown Coffee, so keep an eye on their Twitter account (@AstroDoughnuts) if you want to get an early sample of the goods. Otherwise, click through to the slideshow to check out 12 of the flavors you'll be able to enjoy.