Forget about that cupcake trend you noticed. Doughnuts is where it’s at. Drive near Atlanta’s 10th Street and Northside Drive and you’ll notice a seriously sweet vibe permeating traffic on all sides. That’s the first clue that you are near the world renowned Sublime Doughnuts. Owner and master baker, Kamal Grant, has been featured in Food and Wine magazine, the New York Times, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, CBS News, and Shape magazine, to name a few.
The young culinary trendsetter is a Navy vet who honed his chef chops at the Culinary Institute of America and the American Institute of Baking in New York City. But, long before that, his shipmates were enjoying his handy work onboard. Namely, his then-signature cinnamon sugar doughnuts. A stint as a production supervisor at Flowers Foods came to a halt when a doughnut shop at Sublime’s current location suddenly went out of business. This Marietta, Georgia native knew kismet from happenstance and opened Sublime Doughnuts a scant two weeks later.
As a teen, Kamal was inspired by a Dunkin’ Donut representative who visited his high school. While he stresses that success has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, he hopes his diligence will inspire urban youth and entrepreneurs to follow your dreams, have a plan, and continue to hone it. If done while enjoying a Sublime Doughnut, all the better.
Rolling out recently sat down with Kamal at the 10th Street location.
Kamal, the world knows about your popular A-Town Crème, Chocolate Ganache Beignet w/Drunk Cherries, Chocolate Banana Fritter, and Butter Toffee with Caramel Icing. Many of your clientele are repeat customers who spread the word about Sublime Doughnuts, often buying doughnuts to ship all over the country. What doughnut innovations do they have to look forward to for the remainder of the year and 2012?
Four words: ice cream doughnut sandwiches. Early this year, we started mixing recipes for ice creams. By the time the warm weather arrived, we had a great recipe that was ultra creamy in about ten different flavors. Fortunately, the warm weather here (Atlanta) lasts well into November. So, customers can continue to enjoy our ice cream doughnut sandwiches for a while.
We noticed that many of the coffee shop chains do a ‘quick change’ into a slow-it-down vibe once the sun goes down. Could this trend translate to doughnuts as well?
(Laughing) Funny you should mention that! My team and I have watched this unfold, too. We gave it some thought and, frankly—why not doughnuts? We are planning on introducing the Sublime Date Night very soon: later hours, dimmed lights, soft music – and a gourmet doughnut.
Peeping into your soda case we see a line of Sublime Ice Teas. Tell us about that.
That was another idea the team and I kicked around that just delivered perfectly. We wanted an all-natural product with interesting flavors married in an unusual bottle and that’s exactly what we got. There are three flavors: Cool Lemon (black tea with lemon and mint), Love (red tea, strawberries and roses), and Tranquil (chamomile tea, blueberries and lavender).
Buzz on the street is that Sublime Doughnuts is about to go warp-speed with growth. International, even. What can you tell us about that?
We are always working to spread the Sublime Doughnuts gospel. And, that includes different avenues regarding distribution, partnerships, and what not. There are some preliminary plans with a local consortium of restaurants, but nothing that I can definitively state right now. Same for Sublime Doughnuts abroad. It’s all prelim now. But, we are ever hopeful.
535 10th Street
Atlanta, Ga. 30318