You Can’t Buy Happiness, But You Can Buy Doughnuts, And That’s Kind Of The Same Thing …
I am a bit of a doughnut expert.
Like many of you, I didn’t grow up vegan.
My family was not the wealthiest of families, so my parents learned a few tricks to stretch the money we did have.
My Dad was the Coupon King.
My mom discovered that at the end of each day, Krispy Kreme threw out all the doughnuts they didn’t sell. So she’d show up on her way to her late night private duty nursing job right before Krispy Kreme closed and pick up boxes of doughnuts for free.
I quickly became an expert on all the Krispy Kreme flavors.
Decades later, I took a winter technical course in Michigan and did an extended stay in a Red Roof Inn, with my dogs Scruffy and Muggsy. A perk of this hotel was its location directly behind a Dunkin Donuts. Every morning, the person at the check-in desk gave you a voucher for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. More days than not, I used it for a coffee and two donuts. (One donut for me, the other donut split between Scruff and Muggs.) Let’s just say that, over the course of that snowy winter, I became an expert on Dunkin Donuts, too.
Then I went vegan, and pfffft – no doughnuts for 10 years.
Enter Pepperbox Doughnuts
Pepperbox Doughnuts, are, without a doubt, the BEST vegan doughnuts I’ve had so far. (I really want to emphasize the so far, because there are still many vegan doughnut places I haven’t tried. Including a few in Charlotte – such as Uncle Paulie’s Bag o Donuts and Move That Dough Baking Co.)
Here’s what I like about Pepperbox:
- The doughnuts are light. We’ve all had vegan (doughnuts, cakes, pastries) that are HEAVY. Pepperbox doughnuts are yeast based, light and fluffy. Not as light and airy as a Krispy Kreme, but similar to or a little lighter than a yeast based Dunkin’.
- The doughnuts are a good size. I sound like Goldilocks, but you really want something that is not too big and not too small. (Yeah, that’s what she said.) Pepperbox doughnuts are sized just right. At one vegan doughnut place in Charlotte, the doughnut was bigger than my hand and almost bigger than my face. It was a waste of doughnut, because obviously I couldn’t eat it all so the remainder was trashed. A doughnut should be of a reasonable size that can be washed down with a standard size cup of coffee.
- Pepperbox is (duh) vegan friendly. In fact, they are sooo vegan friendly it takes less time to ask what isn’t vegan than to ask what is! (Currently, the only non-vegan doughnut on their seasonal menu is the Boston Cream – which has egg. This could change with the fall menu, however.)
- Pepperbox has taken doughnuts to an art form. The flavor combinations are creative. (Ever had a Cinnamon Spiced Maple Bourbon or a Mango Habanero doughnut? I have – nyah nyah nyah.) The presentation is exquisite (check out the Pina Colada doughnut). And the taste is incredible. A simple Strawberry doughnut has a glaze that actually tastes like – gasp! – strawberries. Summer ones, too, not winter ones. A standard jelly doughnut is elevated by a filling of spiced plum jam.
- Pepperbox writes the names of the doughnuts on the inside of the box lid, so you don’t have to wonder what the flavors are if you order a sampler box or “chef’s assortment.”
Doughnuts run around $3. You get a box of four for $12, a box of eight for $18. The price goes down a bit for a dozen doughnuts – $27, or $2.25 each.
Pepperbox offers coffee and tea (of course). They also have vintage sodas in glass bottles – Cheerwine, Mexican Coke, Sundrop, Nehi Grape and Nehi Peach. There’s a changing assortment of specialty “house drinks” which have included Summer on the Mekong (salted lemonade), Iced Sweetberry Tea (strawberry lavender jasmine green tea and hibiscus), and mocktails such as the Earnold Palmer (made with a non-alcoholic gin alternative).
Two locations in Charlotte – one in South End and one in NoDa. Delivery is also available. (How I originally found out about Pepperbox, during the pandemic.) Hours for both are Monday – Thursday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM and Friday-Sunday 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Or until sellout. And yes, they do sell out. Since these are yeast based doughnuts, with the fermentation process starting at 2:00 AM, once they’re gone – they’re gone.
This is DEFINITELY one to add to your “Charlotte Vegan Bucket List!”
Design Center Location:
101 W. WORTHINGTON STE. 150 CHARLOTTE, NC 28203
2810 N. DAVIDSON ST. CHARLOTTE, NC 28205