September 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM
"The duo behind the wildly popular ChocolateSmith are opening a … wait for it …donut shop!"
By Lynn Cline
Lynn Cline is a former food editor and the author of two books – Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe and Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1915-1950. She also loves to cook, when not dining out.
Open House Celebration
If you can't get enough of The ChocolateSmith's chocolate-covered caramels with sea salt, white chocolate lemon lavender bark and dark chocolate orange ganache infused with smoky chipotle and cinnamon, then start rejoicing.
The duo behind the wildly popular ChocolateSmith are opening a … wait for it …donut shop! Right in the heart of Santa Fe! I know!
Jeff Keenan and his wife, Kari, run the famous chocolate eatery that was featured on The Food Network (The Neelys dropped by for a segment of their "Road Tested with the Neelys" show) . Now they are putting the finishing touches on the "barnyard chic" interior of Whoo's Donuts, in a space recently vacated by Axis Hair Salon right next door to their Cerrillos Road chocolate shop.
Whoo's Donuts opens September 30, with a free open house celebration the night before from 5 to 7 p.m. , where you can sample such divine flavors as maple with dark chocolate chile bacon – I'll have a dozen of those! -- and pistachio with a white chocolate lemon ganache along with classics including raised glaze and Boston cream. (Raised glaze is the most popular donut in the country, while the Boston or Bavarian cream is the second most popular, according to Jeff.)
"After Kip’s closed we felt Santa Fe was lacking a made-from-scratch donut shop,” Jeff says. "There is a huge donut community out there, and like many other cities, we thought we’d build a top notch donut shop Santa Fe can call its own.” And he's right. Not to mention that donuts already have eclipsed cupcakes as the next cool food. Other cities have world-famous donut boutiques such as Voodoo Doughnut in Portland and the Doughnut Plant in Brooklyn, serving everything from bubble gum donuts to bacon maple donuts and donuts with rose water and rose petals. So why can't Santa Fe? "There's a huge donut community out there, and we thought we'd build that iconic donut shop here," Jeff says.
The Keenans are devoted to using as many organic, locally-grown ingredients at Whoo's Donuts, including Sangre de Cristo flour from Taos and organic Fat Boys coffee from Cedar Crest.
Donuts appeal to Jeff, who did a lot of research about one of America's favorite foods. "They taste good," he says. "I have stacks and stacks of books on donuts and Americana. I did a lot of research going into this about how donuts came to be associated with America. It started in World War I or World War II, when doughboys were in the field with 50 gallons of frying oil for donuts for all the servicemen. When they came back to the states, they had a taste for it. That marked the boom of the donut industry in the U.S. People are nostalgic about donuts -- they remember the first place they ate them, they remember their favorite place. There are people who are traveling who will seek out a donut shop if they know it's a from-scratch donut shop."
The Keenans new shop will seat 15 people. They also plan to add a donut case in their downtown ChocolateSmith shop, and to open a second donut shop on Santa Fe's Southside. Eventually, they will launch a wholesale business for Whoo's Donuts. And of course they will merge their two businesses in many ways. "We will definitely try to have some synergy between the two businesses," Jeff says. "We will take the favorites of our chocolate and translate those into donuts. We will try to marry the two as much as we can."
Whoo's Donuts is located at 851-B Cerrillos Rd. and will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily., with 1,500 donuts ready for the hungry hordes by 6 a.m. For more information, call 629-1678. You can also learn more about The ChocolateSmith at http://www.chocolatesmith.com/ and follow them on Facebook.