Metro, News

New location to fulfill doughnut Kneads

Local operation expands into collaborative kitchen space, has room for pop-ups, possible market

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 18, 2019

With additional space for kneading, frying, and glazing, Knead Doughnuts’ new location will allow for an increase in doughnut production.

On a starry, May night in Providence’s West End, fresh-out-the-frier brioche doughnuts are glazed on the spot and devoured with local craft beers brewed right next door.

This will be the scene at Knead Doughnuts’ new location, a collaborative kitchen space at 55 Cromwell St. that the doughnut company shares with Long Live Beerworks and caterer Brown Paper Bounty, when it opens for retail services in mid-May. At the moment, the space is operational for doughnut baking, but will eventually be open to the public on weekends and for special events.

The expansion into a 5,000-square-foot kitchen will allow Knead to ramp up doughnut production to meet higher demand, with mixers that are more powerful, specific rooms for glazing and mixing and two more friers, said Knead Co-founder Adam Lastrina.

The retail end of the operation features exposed brick painted in pastel colors, a lofty ceiling with hanging wicker chairs and a “stainless steel, industrial look,” Lastrina said. He hopes to use the extra space afforded by the new location to host pop-up events in the future.

“It’s a really cool place, … certainly a destination,” Lastrina said, comparing the new location to the company’s two other stores in the well-trodden Downtown and East Side areas.

Lastrina hopes to collaborate with the nearby craft brewery, Long Live Beerworks, and other companies in the Providence Kitchen Collaborative to set up co-sponsored events.

“The vision is … once a month, do sort of meet-your-maker type markets where … you can eat a doughnut and eat a burrito, pound a beer and eat some ice cream,” Lastrina said. “You almost don’t even have to leave.”

Long Live Beerworks’ taproom has been open next door for about two weeks, said Beerworks’ General Manager Jessica deBry.

Beerworks is housed under high rafters, with the space split in half between the industrial, chic wood taproom and the twenty-foot high metal tanks used to brew the beer. Similar to Knead, the company moved to the Cromwell location to allow for greater production capability; the new facility lets them increase production by five times, deBry said.

“We really love this complex and want to build this community,” she said. Beerworks also hopes to plan pop-up events for the summer.

In general, Providence offers accessibility for those looking to start small companies, deBry said.

“With Brown and (the Rhode Island School of Design), there’s such a wonderful creative hub, and then with Johnson and Wales, too. For such a small city, we have an amazing amount of really good restaurants,” she said, also citing the city’s affordability in comparison to Boston or New York.

University students also appreciate the local companies. Lastrina cited graduation weekends as some of the busiest times for the company, adding that Knead doughnuts are available around Brown’s campus.

“I went vegan when I was twelve … so I think when I started eating (Knead’s vegan doughnuts), they were very nostalgic for me and reminded me of other doughnuts I grew up eating,” said Rachel Souza ’21. “They just taste really good.”

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