Strange Donuts Is Expanding to Creve Coeur, Then the Nation

Apr 6, 2018 at 6:30 am
Strange Donuts' Kirkwood shop opened in 2014. - MABEL SUEN
Strange Donuts' Kirkwood shop opened in 2014.
The Strange Donuts shop slated to open later this summer in Creve Coeur will be a bit different than the Maplewood original or its Kirkwood spinoff. For one thing, it's a whole lot bigger — more than 1,000 square feet as opposed to the 650 and 300 square feet, respectively.

But hey, if you've got the space, why not use it? And so the shop at 11477 Olive Boulevard (a former Jamba Juice) will feature not just an extensive coffee program but seating. "It's been a major gripe," acknowledges founder Jason Bockman. "A lot of people come in and want to sit down and can't." Creve Coeur customers won't have that complaint.

Bockman promises that the drinks, like the donuts, will be ... strange. Not entirely strange, of course, but that the zany options that separate his shop from its competitors will also be on the drink menu. "It's an exact replica of how we approach donuts," he says. "We'll have classics, but we'll get wild with it, too. Cereal milk latte, horchata latte, crazy Italian sodas — we've got a list of 80 drinks we'll be releasing over time."

After a period of contraction (closures in the Central West End and Columbia, as well as a parting of the ways with the chain's corporate chef), Strange Donuts is again on the move. Last year, Strange Donuts gained its first franchisee, in Mexico City. Now Bockman says he's not only contemplating one or two more corporate-owned stores in the St. Louis area this year, but as many as fifteen franchises in other states.

"There's a bunch of interest in most major cities that are within five hours of here," he says. "That's probably where we'll start, and move from there in concentric circles. I know there's also interest in places like Pennsylvania and Florida, and we can get there next." He envisions another fifteen franchises next year.

Bockman says it was the space that dictated the concept more than a desire to increase offerings. "I love our Kirkwood store," he says. "It's 300 square feet but we bang out of there and it's awesome and it's fun. People are like, 'We can't believe you make everything from scratch right here.' I love that. But there are just so few of those spaces out there.

"If anyone out there has 300 square feet and wants a donut shop in it, tell them to email [email protected]," he says. "This bigger concept is going to be awesome, but I really like the smaller stores too."

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