We’ve got a doughnut hole in our heart because April 18 will be the last day to get your hands on a fresh maple bacon brioche doughnut at City Garden Doughnuts before the 4-year-old artisan bakery closes its doors.
Cue agonized screaming.
But fear not fried dough lovers, because the renowned Johnny Doughnuts will take up residence just a few weeks later at the same east Santa Rosa location. In addition to doughnuts, the new shop will serve up Crodoughs (a take on Cronuts, or croissant doughnuts), Bismarks (aka jelly doughnuts), cinnamon rolls, wheat-free doughnuts, vegan doughnuts and Equator coffee and tea.
It’s a bittersweet goodbye to Alan and Terri McCandless, who launched one of Sonoma County’s first farm-to-fryer doughnutteries, using local produce for their glazes, local bacon, Guisto flour, and other high-quality ingredients at the much-loved Fourth Street bakery.
It’s not an exaggeration to say their doughnuts provided stress relief over the last year, opening each week to swarms of sweet-lovers picking up their treats in a time of COVID.
The couple say they’re ready for new adventures (not in the food business) and met Johnny Doughnut owner Craig Blum several months ago. Their passions for high-quality pastries jived, and Blum’s expansion from a simple food truck to a Bay Area artisan bakery staple impressed Alan McCandless.
“We were the only two people in the North Bay in the same doughnut world,” said McCandless. “We started talking about the future of artisanal doughnuts and what that looked like and after seeing how far advanced (Johnny Doughnuts) were, and able to maintain a great product, we said, ‘It’s time for Johnny Doughnuts to enter Sonoma County,’” he said.
“We would not feel good bowing out if they weren’t coming in,” McCandless added.
Thus, a deal was struck and by early May, Johnny Doughnuts will open in Santa Rosa.
Blum, who says he will retain existing City Garden employees and bring in additional staff, says he’s excited about the opportunity to get involved in the community.
“Santa Rosa is so community-oriented and neighborly and we’re always looking for opportunities to help out in these crazy times,” said Blum. His doughnut trucks provided pastries for first responders during recent fires and hospital workers during the pandemic.
But the real question is, how are the doughnuts?
Though Johnny Doughnuts doesn’t use brioche dough, like City Garden Doughnuts, they’ve got their own special recipe from the 1920s that uses potatoes as the secret ingredient.
If the pictures are any indication, we’ll be in good hands. Stay tuned for more details and taste testing soon.