Joe’s Doughs draws hundreds to sweetest grand opening

On Saturday, we left the grand opening of the new Joe’s Doughs storefront in NoDa ready to fall into a sugar coma (in the best possible way). When we arrived at 9:30 a.m., Joe’s Doughs had already sold all of the 1,200 doughnuts they made that morning for their grand opening.

“We did not expect this many people,” said Justin Garton, part owner of Joe’s Doughs. “I think people who came this morning were really hungry because they took a lot.”

We waited for about an hour and a half in a line that wrapped around the building. Owner Joseph Pepe handed out free waters and coffee to the dedicated customers. Those who waited also received 25 percent off of their orders.


Pepe flew back to Charlotte from Los Angeles for the grand opening of the brick-and-mortar store. Previously, Joe’s Doughs had been sold at pop-up events. Pepe said he was blown away and overwhelmed by the crowd.

“I’ve had a blast; I just really appreciate the community coming out,” he said. “They’ve supported me since day one, since I was a small pop-up shop.”

We tried eight flavors: Banana coconut caramel cake, sea salted caramel, chocolate glazed with sprinkles, goat cheese strawberry balsamic, maple bacon, plain vanilla glaze, everything donut and candied lemon. (Unfortunately, they had sold out of cinnamon sugar and were not making peanut butter s’mores, espresso cake or PB&J.)


They also had vegan and gluten-free donut options.

We both really loved the maple bacon, which Garton said was the most popular. Pepe also said it’s his favorite. There is truly no better match than salty bacon and sticky maple syrup.

Maple bacon

The everything donut was also incredible — and after eating a lot of sweeter donuts, it hit the spot. The donut was the perfect vehicle for the tangy cream cheese glaze and “everything” seeds. It might even be better than the bagel. But you really couldn’t go wrong with any of the flavors.

Pepe said they sold about 2,509 doughnuts on their opening day.

After stuffing ourselves with the delicious doughs, we ranked our top five flavors…

Rachel’s favorites:

(1) Maple Bacon

(2) Everything

(3) Plain vanilla glaze

(4) Salted caramel

(5) Candied lemon

Jane’s favorites:

(1) Maple bacon

(2) Everything

(3) Candied lemon

(4) Salted caramel

(5) Banana coconut caramel cake


Joe’s Doughs: 1721 North Davidson St., Unit B

Photos: Rachel Stone and Jane Little