When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out — and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Hurts Donut Company
Location: 2161 East University Drive, Tempe
Open: A little over three months
Eats: 70 types of doughnuts
Price: $2 or $3 for specialty donuts; $16 for a dozen
If you weren't looking for Hurts Donut Company, you might miss it. The doughnut shop is located between a Waffle House and Jack in the Box in a tan building that once was Max Market & Liquor.
But once you make the trip, you won’t forget where it is.
The Missouri-based company has 13 locations, including stores in Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. Two new locations will soon open in Missouri and Arkansas. This is the first store in Arizona.
The 24-hour bakery offers 70 types of handmade doughnuts daily. They are topped with ingredients ranging from bacon to Nutella. There’s even a s’mores-inspired doughnut, complete with a toasted marshmallow.
The environment at Hurts is very welcoming. At second glance, the space feels more like a neighborhood coffee shop than a franchise. On any given day, the owners can be found in the kitchen or working the counter.
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We struck up a conversation, and were told that Cookie Monster and Oreo Cheesecake are among the most popular flavors.
A good place to start is a “Cereal Killer,” which is a plain doughnut topped with vanilla or chocolate frosting and a breakfast cereal. Captain Crunch, Cinnamon Toast, and Fruity Pebbles are among the choices. Next, try the Mint Oreo. This chocolate doughnut is topped with a mint (green) frosting and chunks of Oreo cookies. Think chocolate whoopie pies with mint filling. The dough is light and airy.
One thing that makes Hurts Donut standout among other doughnut shops in the Valley is its food challenge, the Big Mouth. Customers have 90 seconds to finish a two-pound doughnut. If they do, the doughnut is free, and they get a Hurts T-shirt.