Strange is the new delicious

The St. Louis shop will make an appearance at Roots N Blues.

If there is one thing that is universally loved in this world, it may be the donut. Taking many leaps from the classic glazed style, Strange Donuts has been dazzling St. Louis for nearly a year with its surprising donut recipes. And that dazzle is coming to Columbia.

As one of the new vendors at the eighth annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, the Strange Donuts team will showcase both traditional flavors as well as their infamously eccentric choices. This is one of the first times the company is introducing their unorthodox donut recipes to Columbia, and the excitement is building.

Started last October by co-owners Corey Smale and Jason Brockman, Strange Donuts has gained quite a following through its social media activities, and word is spreading about the shop’s unconventional flavors.

Brand manager and recent Mizzou grad Samantha Coates names Maple Bacon and Gooey Butter as the top two sellers, admitting that “more times than not, (we) sell out in the store.”

With menu items like the Chocolate Log (vanilla cake donut, Nutella icing, puppy chow topping) and the s’mores-inspired Campfire, customers of all ages and backgrounds flock to Strange Donuts for a quirky twist on a classic treat. Perhaps even more infamous than the homemade confections are the “Strangers” items, which feature ingredient and recipe collaborations with local chefs, offering innovative choices to the avid donut fan.

Luckily for Mizzou students, a new Strange Donuts shop is set to open on Ninth Street before the end of the fall semester.

This is the second Strange Donuts shop to open after the original Maplewood location, following a Kirkwood store opening this month. The decision to expand to Columbia wasn’t a tough one for the company.

“A lot of people in St. Louis go to Mizzou,” co-owner Smale says. “So ­it’s a similar customer base in Columbia with lots of new, interesting things happening.”

The new location plans to expand nighttime hours past the usual midnight closing on weekends, gearing toward the late-night college student population. With low prices, late hours and a lively atmosphere, Strange Donuts seems to be an ideal stop for hungry Mizzou students.

Prompted with planning publicity for the new location, it was Coates who reached out to the Roots N Blues coordinators to get the shop on the lineup for this year’s first-time vendors.

“I saw this as an opportunity for us, not being out there yet, to really let everyone know that we’re coming to Columbia in a big way,” Coates says.

Donut-lovers looking to test some of the shop’s wild recipes will find their booth all three days of the festival, but are encouraged to have an open mind with what to expect. When asked about any new donut concepts for the festival or the Columbia location, both Coates and Smale are tight-lipped.

“There’s an element of mystery that we’re maintaining. Announcements are coming soon with some cool stuff,” Coates reveals.

If the hype surrounding this avant-garde shop holds any truth, Strange Donuts will be a successful and original addition to downtown CoMo. Whether you’re looking for a simple glazed donut or one topped with chicken and waffles, follow Corey Smales’ advice: “Be nice, stay strange and always believe in the donuts.”

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