Situated snugly between apartments and antique storefronts, a new avant-garde doughnut shop doles out delectably inventive doughnuts on Park Avenue. Dough Loco’s youthful ambience and delicious doughnuts are attracting a kaleidoscopic crowd of people, making it a destination for both locals and newcomers from other nooks of the city. In the short 15 minutes I spent inside, I watched two businessmen, a family, some runners, and a group of college students all indulge in flavorful doughnuts and refreshing beatnik atmosphere.
Owners Corey Cova and Michael Cesari, who also run two other Upper East Side eateries, have already gained a loyal following despite opening only three weeks ago. At 2 p.m. on a Sunday, Dough Loco had sold nearly all of its 400 house-made doughnuts, a testament to the shop’s initial success. With innovative flavor choices and reasonable prices, Dough Loco’s growing popularity is not surprising in the least.
In addition to the original glazed doughnut, Dough Loco boasts a selection of exotic flavors such as Miso-Maple and Blueberry Rosemary Lime. Although the glazed doughnut was showered with rainbow sprinkles and was all-around tasty, the star standouts were Pineapple Brown Butter and Nonna’s Blood Orange. Both of these fruity flavors strike melodious notes of tartness and sweetness that were reminiscent of far-off tropical locations. The yeast-raised dough was light, slightly chewy, and understated; it wonderfully complemented and highlighted the sugary sweet and tropically tart icings.
Although the Miso-Maple is Dough Loco’s most popular and best-received doughnut, I was less than impressed. The maple icing was intensely flavorful, but it was dry and almost stale as it crumbled into pieces and refused to stick to the dough. Feeling defeated, I took a few more bites of the Pineapple Brown Butter and Blood Orange doughnuts, but my spirit and confidence were renewed. I’m willing to bet that the Blueberry Rosemary Lime achieves an equally appealing balance of flavors, but I simply couldn’t justify buying a fifth doughnut.
Even if the Miso-Maple fell short of my expectations, at $3 per doughnut and only a 15-minute jog from campus, a trip to Dough Loco is certainly worth it. The delightful, house-made doughnuts are even more satisfying coupled with a short run through Central Park to work up an appetite, but if running isn’t your thing, take the M4 bus, a cab, a bike, or a leisurely stroll. Your doughnut desires will soon be satiated. If that’s not enough to persuade you, perhaps the upcoming, unique flavors with eclectic names like Orange Mocha Frappuccino, Uncle Mike’s Bitter Chocolate Uptown Hand Pie, The Craig T Nelson, and Banana Curry with Dulce de Leche will change your mind and make you just as loco for Dough Loco as I am.
Dough Loco is located at 1261 Park Ave. (between E. 97th and 98th streets).