Curiosity Doughnuts, which snagged a James Beard Award nomination while just a temporary stand in the Stockton, N.J., Farmer’s Market two years ago, is coming to South Philadelphia.
Starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 and repeating on Wednesday, Nov. 25, it will operate in the morning out of Laurel and its bar, In the Valley, at 1615-1617 E. Passyunk Ave. Starting Dec. 4, the shop will adopt a regular schedule, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. It will be takeout only — customers will go in one door to select doughnuts and will leave from the other door. No preorders, no delivery. The shop, which also will sell coffee, will be open till sellout.
“There’s a hole in the market,” deadpanned Laurel and ITV owner Nicholas Elmi, who hosted pop-ups in 2016 and 2018 with Curiosity owners Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, who are married.
“I’ve been trying to get Alex to open a shop in the city for years. This is now a good opportunity," Elmi said. "We’d been thinking, what are the things we could do to stay busy? There’s no winter [outdoor] dining, and we need to utilize the space.”
Talbot and Kamozawa, whose wares are now found in stands at the Whole Food stores in Spring House, Pa., Princeton, N.J., and Tysons Corner, Va., mix chemistry with alchemistry. Their repertoire includes 11 types of dough, including vegan.
Talbot’s quirky genius includes a maddening refusal to place signs identifying the types of doughnuts in his case. It encourages conversation between the customer and counter person (who often is a baker), he said.
Let others stand at the case and point to learn the flavor profile of a chocolate yeasted, a cloud doughnut, or one of their angel pillows. I just want my cruller, whose crackly exterior envelopes a vanilla custard interior.
“This is a great opportunity to put a sold stamp on the city,” Talbot said. “It’s allowing us to spread our craziness to more people.”