Engage Cleveland Young Professionals Week Donut Tasting Panel (Photo submitted by Bethany Chambers)

Donut tasting and panel? Donut mind if I do!

Cleveland is in the midst of a food renaissance and revolution. People are constantly seeking out new restaurants that fit their lifestyle. One of the newer trends in Cleveland is the donut craze.

Engage! Cleveland organized a donut tasting panel during Young Professionals Week June 27, featuring five donut shops located in or near Cleveland. Big Mouth Donuts hosted this popular event that had me thinking, “Donut mind if I do!”

The event featured:

Engage! Cleveland serves as a hub for young professionals in Cleveland to connect and share their stories through organized events such as the donut tasting and panel. The purpose of Young Professionals Week is to allow the city’s young and working adults to explore what Cleveland has to offer and network with community leaders.

Each shop has its own unique story, but there was one thing they all have in common – a love for donuts. Donuts are literally life for these business owners. They are the first and last thing they think about each day. These shop owners recognize that Cleveland is changing and people are looking to explore the city now more than ever before. They see the value of walking into a donut shop and the joy of choosing their very own donut.

Katie Flesher from Peace, Love, & Little Donuts sees that the demand for donuts has expanded outside of breakfast to all times of the day. People walk in during the morning through late hours of the evening asking for donuts. She mentioned how adults are turning to donuts at their wedding rather than more traditional desserts, such as cakes or cupcakes.

Brewnuts dove even deeper into the trends of Clevelanders by incorporating beer into their customers’ donut experience. At Brewnuts, you can order a beer or a cocktail to enjoy with your treat. Some of the donuts even have beer in the batter. This business took two things that Cleveland loves and combined them to create a popular destination for young adults. Taking risks and jumping into a new market like Brewnuts owner Shelley Pippin, ultimately led to her success. Pippin expresses how she feels about her customers choosing to visit Brewnuts in their free time:

Shelley Pippin, owner of Brewnuts
Image by NCM Staff

“I feel honored every time customers walk in the door. That’s their discretionary income, their discretionary time. There’s only a few decisions we get to make for fun each week, so each time they spend their one weekend decision with us, I’m honored.” – Shelley Pippin, owner of Brewnuts

Donuts offered at these five locations may be slightly more expensive than those from Dunkin’ Donuts. The higher prices are part of a greater experience than just zipping in a drive-thru and grabbing a bag from a stranger. The shop owners pride themselves on engaging with their customers and creating lasting relationships.

Young Professionals Weeks’ donut tasting panel provided a “sweet” night out and drew participants closer to their city’s own community of young professionals. The attendees walked away feeling inspired to develop their professional career in Cleveland — and a few extra donuts to share.


PB&J Donut at Young Professional's Week event
Image by Paige Rost