With flavours like Maple Bacon, Cornmeal Cherry, Raspberry White Chocolate, Chocolate Frito, Salty Caramel, and Toasted Coconut with Kaffir Lime, you know you’re not in Tim Horton’s anymore. Upscale doughnuts featuring fresh ingredients and creative toppings are the latest trend in fried dough and so far the BeaverTail capital is eating it up.
The brainchild of Sue Hamer, a Canada Post letter carrier and mother of three, Suzy Q Doughnuts is Ottawa’s first dedicated indie-artisinal doughnut shop. We first spotted Hamer’s drool-inducing treats at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market last summer and had a feeling her fans would rally to keep her in business. In mid-Febuary, Hintonburg residents — already spoiled with an impressive new crop of num-nums — saw Suzy Q’s “open” sign go up on the rustic little shack that was the original home of Hintonburger before it fled to the KFC location across the street a few months ago.
“It’s important to us to be able to serve warm doughnuts,” she says. “Unlike at the market, we now have the luxury to keep frying up doughnuts fresh all day.”
Hamer runs the bustling new business just four days a week — from Thursday to Sunday — along with her husband Mark and her brother-in-law Don, both carpenters. All three have held on to their day jobs while trying to make a go of it in the doughnut business. “I’m totally overwhelmed,” said Hamer, adding “in a good way.” She says Twitter is largely to thank and to blame for her shop’s immediate popularity that has led her scrambling to try to keep up with the demand. She says the neighbours have been amazing about spreading the word using their social networks that has led to lineups at her door and an astonishing average daily sale of more than 800 doughnuts.
Unlike the market stall, where the plain old-fashioned sugar doughnuts called munkki were the biggest hit (after the reigning #1 Maple Bacon doughnut made with bacon fat added to the dough), Hamer says the new location seems to attract a “younger, funkier crowd” who are more interested in the more unusual flavours. One recent winner was a vanilla bean glazed doughnut topped with Fruit Loops cereal that had been toasted with milk powder and butter. She has also been experimenting with the addition of Island Spice, a locally-produced hot sauce, to give a spicy kick to her dark chocolate dip made using top-quality Belgian chocolate.
Hamer’s creative mind is already dreaming up ideas for the summertime, when she hopes the large parking lot in front of the shop will become a relaxed neighbourhood hangout. She’s thinking about an ice cream sandwich with a doughnut in the place of cookies.
Suzy Q, 991 Wellington St. W., suzyq.ca.
Hours: Thursday – Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (or until sold out)