Donut Crazy opens its first Hartford County location in West Hartford center

West Hartford, it’s time to eat the doughnuts.

Donut Crazy officially opens its long-awaited first Hartford County location Nov. 21 at 6 a.m. at 993 Farmington Ave. The gourmet doughnut shop serves about 45 varieties of cream-stuffed, candy-topped and sugar-glazed specialty items, turning the simple indulgence into exceptional treats.

“We’re right in the middle of the action,” founder and owner Jason Wojnarowski said Tuesday, motioning outside to bustling West Hartford center. The store, first announced in the spring of 2017, is Donut Crazy’s fifth location, joining others in Stratford, Shelton, New Haven and Westport.

Donut Crazy’s flavors fall into two categories: “Dailies” offer classics like glazed jelly, chocolate sprinkle and Boston cream, joining more creative preparations like PB&J (a yeast raised shell filled with concord grape jelly, topped with peanut butter buttercream, peanuts and Reese’s chips) and Hostess (raised chocolate shell filled with vanilla-marshmallow cream and covered with chocolate fudge.)

Things get even wilder with the “Crazies,” with recent flavors like Cookie Butter (glazed vanilla cake sliced in half and filled with cookie butter, topped with dollops of cookie butter buttercream, caramel pearls and a Biscoff speculoos cookie) and S’mores (raised yeast shell with marshmallow filling, dipped in chocolate frosting, rolled in graham cracker crumbs, and topped with torched marshmallow and a piece of Hershey chocolate.) Other specialties include crème brûlée, apple dulce crumble, brown sugar cinnamon pop tart and pecan pie.

“We wanted to make four or five ‘crazies’ and rotate them every two weeks,” Wojnarowski says, referencing favorites like the ricotta and chocolate chip-filled Cannoli, the Black Hawk glazed chocolate cake doughnut topped with chocolate icing, crushed cookies and cream and the Kookie Monster, decorated with blue frosting and chocolate chip cookies. “The crazies have grown into some that have been here the whole time. As we launch a new market like this, we can’t even retire them for a short time.”

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The 900-square-foot West Hartford shop showcases a red-and-white motif, with a neon sign sporting its “Let’s Eat Donuts” slogan. Pop-art decor includes a portrait of Mark Twain amid floating doughnuts and an ode to Nutella and marshmallow fluff hanging in the restroom.

Donut Crazy first opened in Stratford partially out of necessity, Wojnarowski told The Courant in 2015, when his family's original shop, which sells coffee and sandwiches, was looking for a wholesale doughnut supplier. Not satisfied with his options, Wojnarowski decided he'd look into doing it himself.

His next store in Shelton, which opened in the spring of 2015, became the experimental site for the inventive doughnut recipes. Word spread quickly, thanks to its Instagram presence, and the brand later expanded further. As the company grew, it necessitated the building of a commissary kitchen in Stratford, where all of the doughnut and baked good preparations happen. Supplies are delivered daily to each location.

Westport and West Hartford eventually became Donut Crazy’s first franchised locations. West Hartford franchisees Cesar and Irene Luaices moved their three young children to Glastonbury from the Boston area to take the opportunity, Irene says.

“I just knew it was something really, really special,” she says. Her father, who formerly owned a Dunkin’ Donuts on Cape Cod, will help run the day-to-day operations with her.

Donut Crazy is considering more locations in the greater Hartford area and possibly beyond state lines, Wojnarowski says.

It’s not all about sugar at Donut Crazy — the shop also offers breakfast sandwiches, avocado toast, hash browns and tater tots, and smoothies. (But you can get your bacon, egg and cheese on two griddled glazed doughnuts — and there’s even a “Donut Go Crazy” bacon cheeseburger.)

“That’s the ‘Oh wow’ moment, once people realize we have breakfast and the other stuff,” Wojnarowski says.

Beverages include coffee and a full lineup of espresso drinks, house-brewed iced tea in a variety of flavors and orange juice, fresh-squeezed daily. Donut Crazy serves Rise Brewing Co.’s nitro coffee and regular and chocolate milks on tap, along with cold-brew coffee and tea.

Other sweets include cruffins — a mashup of croissants and muffins — which appear on weekends in rotating flavors, along with scones, turnovers and newly-introduced “Goliath-sized” cookies.

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Doughnuts are $1.95 each for dailies and $3.25 for “crazies,” and customers looking for a “crazy dozen” get two free doughnuts when they buy 12. Breakfast sandwiches are $4.95 to $8.95; glazed doughnut sandwiches are $4.25 to $9.95. Avocado toasts are $6.95 to $8.50. Beverages are $2.25 to $5.95.

Donut Crazy is open Sunday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 860-206-3918, donutcrazyct.com.

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