Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
If it seems like Union Square Donuts sprang up overnight, it's because it did. It started last Fall with two one-sentence emails from friends and culinary collaborators Heather Schmidt and Josh Danoff. He had an idea, she had a recipe, and they were both adventurous enough to launch a business on a whim.
Union Square Donuts made its official debut on Valentine's Day. Bostonians must think doughnuts are wicked romantic—they sold out in two hours.
Union Square Donuts is definitely not a mom-and-pop doughnut joint. It's housed in Kitchen, Inc., the shared commercial cooking space in Union Square. There's a folding table instead of a counter and though it all looks a little impermanent, the place is buzzing with energy. The staff, almost all of whom are wearing beanies and plaid, are friendly and look like they might just glaze doughnuts to the beat of Sam Cooke and French love songs even when they're not working.
Schmidt gets the credit for the doughnuts themselves. The recipe, which she developed after working at places like Rialto and Clear Flour, is a sweet, yeasted dough that's closer to brioche than a cake doughnut. There's a roster of five or six flavors that are becoming standard, including the runaway favorite Maple Bacon. All of the doughnuts are made in small batches throughout the day. That means that they sometimes sell out and restock, but the doughnuts are always fresh. Regardless of what time you buy your doughnut, Schmidt wants to make sure that eating it is "just like biting into a cloud."
Click through the slideshow to see the selection at Union Square Donuts
Note: Union Square Donuts is currently open Thursday - Sunday from 9 a.m. until whenever they sell out. Check out their Twitter and Facebook page to see what's new and what's gone for the day.
Union Square Donuts201 Somerville Ave. Somerville, MA 02143 (map) 617-489-5090; facebook.com/unionsquaredonuts
About the author: Kate Shannon is a cheesemonger and former line cook. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.