FavoritePlaces: Makers Donuts

To my delight, Knoxville is growing a gastronomic scene, which fills my steady hunger for good food. Markets, restaurants and cafes recall what the farms and seasons in East Tennessee have to offer and, even better, match it with good architecture and great design. I’m happy! From this day on I am going to share my list of FavoritePlaces with you which I discovered over the last half year.

baking trays with donuts

The beginning of my series is a shop that specializes in the pastry, no office in America can run without: The Makers Donuts!

Two weeks ago I met Sean, who runs the shop together with his wife and talked with him about their donut dream that became true.

The gem of delicious fried dough has been around for almost one and a half years. Sara and Sean, as passionate donut eaters, have visited many small shops with handcrafted donuts across America and said again and again: That is missing in Knoxville! Their request on Facebook, whether only they see it this way, brought an overwhelming response and much positive feedback. Two years of intense planning, rebuilding and much self-initiative later, they were able to open the doors to Makers Donuts in January 2016.

Makers Donuts entrance

The red brick building, where the store is located, is typical for North Knoxville. Until a few years ago, the former industrial district lay in a deep sleep and awakes slowly. Sara and Sean have recognized the potential of this area and use it extensively. They live not far away and have a well running café (Remedy Coffee) next to the donut shop.

The interior is restrained. White surfaces, black metal stools and the visible cables allow the colorful pastry to shine. The only decoration is the big wall letters “Makers Gonna Make”. The simple wooden displays and the pallets holding the baking sheets with the donuts give the room warmth and make it cozy.

Makers Donuts shop

The design of the salesroom is supplemented by the clear but stylish logo, which Sean designed by himself. The idea is fully developed: from the inside and outside writings, to the business cards, to the packaging and the paper in which one gets the individual donuts. Referring back on traditional American brand design fits this store like the hole in the donut.

blueberry bourbon donut

But enough of architecture and design, the most important part comes now: The Donuts. The Makers team is able to craft them in a wonderful way: not to greasy, no too heavy, and not too sweet. The weekly changing offer of eight different varieties does not follow a strict pattern. The pleasure of experimenting, the fun of it, and the influence of seasonal ingredients always bounces me on when I look at the display. There are classic flavor varieties like Vanilla Bean Glazed or Chocolate Ganache, but also kooky creations like Blueberry Bourbon or Maple Bacon.

maple bacon donut

The last one is Sean’s favorite: a classic donut with a layer of maple syrup glaze and crispy bacon bits on top. I have to admit it is unusual and initially confusing, yet the mixture of sweet and salty tastes undoubtedly delicious. The recipes are created by Sara and Sean with their team. The ideas come from everyday life: at breakfast, when eating a delicious dessert, on the market, on TV, …

Last but not least I would like to thank the wonderful employees of the Makers Donuts again. Not only does everyone feel welcome as soon as she or he enters the shop, but they also have borne me and my camera quite relaxed.

the key lime pie donut

There are countless interesting sides of the Makers Donuts I would like to tell you further about, such as the exciting opening hours, the young team, the perceptible enthusiasm, the innovation, … But I better be brief and summarize: I like this store.


Sean posted a link about this article on the Makers Donuts Blog. I’m so excited! Check it out!

UPDATE January 2018

Makers Donuts announced something big a couple of days ago. After two successful years, Sara and Sean decided to sell their wonderful donut shop (the shop, not the building). In 2017, the two already sold their Café Remedy Coffee and have been looking for a new, passionate owner for Makers Donuts since January. Until they find someone suitable, the shop is closed for the time being.

Of course, I’m a bit sad to see the lovely couple go, at the same time I’m so sure they are looking for someone new with all their heart and will surprise us with something wonderful in the end.

I wish Sara and Sean all the best for their new adventures and I am curious what it’ll be. Until then, I’ll keep you up to date with Makers Donuts, their new owner and maybe even a new location.

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