First Taste

Rollover Doughnuts in Phoenix Isn't Perfect But Shows Promise

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: Rollover Doughnuts Location: 10 W. Vernon, Phoenix Open: Just over a week Eats: Doughnuts, coffee Price: About $2/doughnut

Portland has Voodoo, Chicago has The Doughnut Vault, and Las Vegas has their Pink Box. For years now fancy, crazy, strange doughnuts have been taking cities from coast to coast by storm -- and yet, somehow, the trend just hasn't really taken off here in Phoenix.

That is, until now.

See also: Welcome Diner to Open Chicken and Donut Restaurant in Phoenix

In July Brad and Kat Moore, the couple behind Short Leash, Phoenix's most successful food truck, announced their plans to take doughnuts to the streets. The couple said their new truck would be called Rollover Doughuts and was expected to launch by the end of the month. The project was held up and then the Moores were offered a brick-and-mortar space for their new concept in the former home of Shine Coffee. They bought the business and turned the tiny coffee shop and its adjacent Living Room into the permanent home of Rollover Doughnuts and Coffee.

The coffee shop re-launched under its new name and owners on Saturday, October 4, which means you can now head to the midtown location for your daily dose of caffeine and sugar.

Shine Coffee fans will probably recognize their friendly neighborhood baristas despite the name change, as the Moores say they asked the staff to remain on board. The coffee menu looks pretty much the same as well. You can still get your rose cognac lattes and Third Street Chai.

All of Rollover's doughnuts are made with brioche dough and though some of the doughnuts we tried were fairly light and fluffy, there was a lot of inconsistency from one to the next.

Our favorite of the batch was the Spicy Thai Coconut ($2.50), a small round doughnut that's filled with coconut Thai chili filling. One of the two Spicy Thai Coconut doughnuts we ordered featured a nicely spicy filling that oozed out with every bite -- in a good way -- while the second was frozen through the middle. The icy creme made for an unpleasant texture combination but the flavor still managed to shine through. A topping of coconut milk glaze and pieces of toasted coconut were just the right balance of sweetness to avoid there being too much heat.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough doughnut ($2.25) was much less of a hit. We found the salty-sweet brown sugar glaze to be cloyingly sweet; when combined with the chocolate chip-studded brioche dough and a topping of more chocolate chips this sweet treat made our teeth ache.

A better choice would be the simple Maple Glazed doughnut ($2). This doughnut offered the best density of all those we tried.

We wished the same could be said of the Orange Glazed doughnut ($2.25), but unfortunately it tasted a little too dry. The flavor combination of sweet, acidic orange glaze and rich, nutty pistachios would be easier to like when supporting a better doughnut base.

It seems clear that Rollover Doughnuts still needs to work on perfecting their brioche dough. The good news is that once they do they have a few sweet and savory creations that could easily become some of our favorite guilty pleasures. Phoenix may not have a cache of unique doughnut options just yet, but at least Rollover is bumping up our local doughnut game.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria