By Brianna Rodriguez
Donut Freak makes the concept of eating doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner possible. Think doughnut sandwiches. Think delectable and delicious.
The doughnut shop opened its doors in August as an extension of Genaro Cafe on Central Avenue, and the merging of coffee and doughnuts was created.
The concept, however, did not happen overnight. Lou Albano, founder and CEO, wanted something different. It wasn’t until Albano met Michael Ostrander, a professional pastry chef, that the dream was born.
At Donut Freak, they bake instead of deep fry the doughnuts, using a 100-year-old recipe. All doughnuts are made from scratch, without preservatives, which allows them to create a wide variety of flavors and presentations.
“We have a full menu of doughnut sandwiches, cake doughnuts, gluten free doughnuts, vegan doughnuts, duffins (muffins with a hole), freakaccinos, freakafrappes, ice cream doughnut sandwiches and ice cream doughnut sundaes,” said Albano.
Donut Freak’s unique format and passion for a quality product seem to be what drive customers to the shop.
Executive pastry chef Brooke Warner, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University, works to keep the doughnuts fresh and ready for customers to enjoy.
“Other companies create doughnuts that are almost robotic. It’s not passionate the way that Amber and Brooke bring to the table.” said Alejandro Sandoval, public relations manager. “Knowing the passion that they have and the team has made this company feel like family.”
The business owners hope to launch other locations throughout Tampa Bay. There are also plans to stay open later so customers can enjoy doughnuts during evening hours. Currently, Donut Freak is only open until 2 p.m. but Sandoval mentioned that Donut Freak plans to eventually cater toward an evening crowd with more sandwich options.
“I enjoy the variety of doughnuts available. The ingredients used are different from most doughnut shops.” said Katie Gero, a freshman biology major.
For Bulls who would like to become freaks for doughnuts, Donut Freak is currently providing a 10 percent discount for USF St. Petersburg students.