Eight years after initially shutting down, a hot doughnut shop is set for a reboot in Sacramento’s Southside Park neighborhood.
Doughbot made its highly-anticipated return to business on Tuesday, this time at 2030 10th St. Buzz has spread on social media amid a slew of soft openings over the last few weeks, and the bakery’s ownership has high expectations as well.
“We don’t want anything on our menu unless it’s a star,” co-owner Kyle Khasigian said. “We want people to walk away saying, ‘this is a level of baking that’s the best I’ve ever had.’”
Doughbot 2.0’s culinary side is led by Alison Clevenger, who was Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates’ executive pastry chef for more than a decade before taking the same role at Selland Family Restaurants, overseeing all things “carby” at The Kitchen, Ella Dining Room & Bar, OBO’ Italian Table & Bar and Selland’s Market-Cafes.
“The food world here has been my life since I moved here (in 2006),” said Clevenger, a San Jose native. “I’ve experienced a lot, and I think I have a lot of fun things to bring to the table.”
Those options include blueberry/Earl Grey cake doughnuts, molasses pecan bars and Everything But The Bagel malasadas, a garlic cream cheese-filled riff that pays homage to Southside Park’s once-sizable Portuguese population.
The neighborhood south of downtown Sacramento also housed many Chinese immigrants during the late 19th and early 20th century, so Doughbot fills baos with scrambled eggs or spiced mushrooms as variations on a more typical American breakfast sandwich.
Clevenger got plenty of practice making doughnuts through Poppy Baking Co., her pandemic pop-up, but became a multidimensional pastry chef under Ginger Elizabeth founder Ginger Elizabeth Hahn, she said. Look for cinnamon rolls, bran muffins, shishito pepper/cheddar scones and brown butter chocolate chip cookies on Doughbot’s menu in addition to doughnuts.
“(Hahn) and I have very similar styles with homestyle, nostalgic flavor profiles, but with a twist,” Clevenger said. “I want you to eat something and to have it transport you to another point in time. I think that’s what food is. Food is memory. We’re being creative, but we’re not using crazy ingredients just for the sake of doing so.”
The menu is about 80% vegan, with most doughnuts using a potato mash engineered by former Empress Tavern and Mother chef/co-owner Michael Thiemann as a binding agent. Gluten-free options are also available.
Doughbot owners and brothers Kirk, Kevin and Kyle Khasigian grew up with a Saturday routine of picking up doughnuts, then running through the halls of their father’s local orthopedic surgery practice “jazzed up on sugar” while he did rounds, Kyle said. Those sweet memories helped form a sense of nostalgia, one that influenced the family’s decision to buy Doughbot shortly before it closed in 2014.
The Khasigians’ parents still own and run a farm in Wilton, further opening doors for fresh ingredients and ideas. Kevin recently came in with a box of his family’s Concord grapes, for example, so Clevenger made a jelly to be used in PB&J doughnuts. Look for “Bot-Tarts,” a take on Pop-Tarts filled with seasonal fruit mixtures.
The old Doughbot filled the building now occupied by popular Japanese restaurant Binchoyaki, where a lack of refrigeration and freezer space contributed to the bakery’s closure, Kyle Khasigian said. The owners looked at a few different sites for a reboot over the years, almost relaunching in the R Street Corridor, before deciding to develop the new site themselves.
Doughbot has a full espresso bar serving a proprietary blend from Naked Coffee (purchased by the Khasigian family last year), and will serve mimosas, White Russians, bloody marys and other “breakfast cocktails” upon receipt of its liquor license, Kyle Khasigian said.
Doughbot’s opening hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week.
This story was originally published August 2, 2022 5:00 AM.