Not your mama’s donuts


Jason Turner

Selling donuts

When the donuts are all named after skateboarding terms, expect the unexpected. Walking in to Donut Freak, in downtown St. Petersburg, one quickly realizes this is not a typical donut shop. There is a graffiti-style mural on the wall and an artistic ambience. Then there are the donuts themselves. Donut Freak sells “gourmet donuts.”

Donut Freak opened this summer in a space they share with Genaro Coffee Company at 1047 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. They are unique in that their donuts are baked, rather than fried. They also use all natural ingredients. The donuts’ ingredients are all fresh and baked onsite overnight. Alejandro Sandoval of Donut Freak says the sell “duffins” (which are muffins with a hole), gluten-free donuts, vegan cake donuts and donut sandwiches. One sandwich, the Back Disaster, is a Sloppy Joe made from a donut, or, as they like to call it, a “Sloppy Jonut.” Sandoval also talks about the “Krooked Grind,” which is a plate of donut holes and gravy.

The donuts are larger than normal donuts. Many are filled with a variety of fillings, such as blueberry, fudge or different types of butter creams. Another unique item is the “Wanna Be a Freak,” which is a giant, warm donut with a topping of your choice and whipped cream. Diners able to eat it in three minutes or less get a free Donut Freak T-shirt.

Donut Freak is open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., but Sandoval stresses that people should come early because they do sell out of many of the flavors. Since the donuts are “gourmet, hand-baked onsite,” the store does not keep a large stock. Sandoval also says they hope to be able to offer additional hours in the future, especially when St. Petersburg holds special evening events. They also want to be able to produce more sandwiches for customers who are in the area later in the day and evening.

Sandoval wants Donut Freak to be able to “take over the world,” but right now, he is focusing on making this store the best it can be. He says they need to perfect what they are currently doing before trying to expand. However, he stresses that future stores will have to be run like this one, using fresh, gourmet ingredients, and keeping the quality to a high standard.

So far, the reaction has been pretty good and Donut Freak already has some regular customers. Sandoval says people are impressed by the mural and the artwork, including the “edible artwork behind the counter,” i.e. the donuts. Customers are allowed and encouraged to go behind the counter to pick the donuts.

Check out Donut Freak at or on Facebook, and for something different, go to the restaurant when you are in St. Petersburg in the morning or early afternoon.