It’s another mild winter morning here in Halifax, and as I stroll down busy Agricola street, I can’t help but admire the flashy new sign spelling out the name of today’s visit – Vandal Doughnuts. The logo, an oversized doughnut with pink frosting covered in rainbow-coloured sprinkles, has me feeling pretty jazzed up for what’s ahead, although looking back, it didn’t even come close to preparing me for the sugary paradise that awaited me on the other side of the door.
As I walk in, I come face to face with a giant display case of extravagant doughnuts, wafting an intoxicatingly sweet scent throughout the shop and into the shared space of Gus’ Pub. The wall colour carries on the theme of bright pink, just like the frosting on their signature raised classic doughnut, ‘Homer’s Odyssey.’
I am greeted by Vandal’s co-owner, Nicole Tufts, and she introduces me to her vibrant staff who eagerly help me to select an assortment of doughnuts and sandwiches. As I sit down to speak with the staff about the menu and their most popular items, Nicole starts to tell me about the inspiration fuelling the ever-growing creative process at Vandal, and how the roots were planted for the business.
“Vandal was started as a natural extension of what we have been doing at RIOT Snack Bar. We fell in love with making doughnuts at the restaurant. We loved how excited people get when you come with something unique. It is the ultimate vessel for creativity and nostalgia. A friend of ours messaged us to encourage us to take on the space at Gus’ Pub and not long after we signed the dotted line and got to work. The whole process took us about a month and a half start to finish and the rest is now history!”
If you live in Halifax, you likely already know that in the past few years the North End scene has bloomed with new food establishments, shops, and services. Many unique ideas are born in this area, encapsulating the pride of supporting local businesses throughout the entire city.
“This location is absolutely perfect. The North End is well known as a hub of creativity and innovation and when we thought of the idea a few months ago we knew we wanted to be on Agricola St. It just so happened that ACE Burger decided to move locations at the exact time we were looking for a location for our shop. It’s really exciting that everything happened so perfectly. We had a feeling the north end folk would open their arms to our unusual ways of doing business and Gus’ Pub has been a really great location for us so far! The unbelievable amount of support that we have received has certainly proved that gut feeling right!”
Okay, okay – back to the doughnuts! This shop doesn’t just meet your classic doughy craving expectations, it surpasses all of your indulgent dreams to dish out an endless supply of flavours and catchy titles to boot.
“We have close to 60 flavours in rotation right now and the list is ever growing. Every night I meet with the bakers to discuss any ideas we might have. We involve the whole staff in the process and encourage everyone to participate in flavour creation! We have drawn inspiration from the best doughnut shops all over North America, but are finding that the best ideas come from right here in the shop! Our most popular doughnuts are the classic pink sprinkle doughnut and most recently our Hankie the Xmas Poo Doughnut.”
Although they make it look easy, this level of inventiveness doesn’t come without hard work. In fact, the team puts extensive hours and energy into producing ideas as fresh as their fried dough every single day.
“Doughnut making starts every night at 11 pm. We meet at the kitchen of RIOT Snack Bar, and go over the days flavours and ideas. We mix big batches of dough and prepare our fillings and toppings. Everything is fried, decorated and out the door by 7 am at which point we haul the fresh doughnuts over to Vandal. We brew fresh coffee from Laughing Whale and open doors at 9 am. The shop is open until 10 pm so people can enjoy our doughnuts until late night!”
Not only do they serve fresh doughnuts and drinks on the daily, Vandal also offers a mouth-watering line-up of gourmet burgers and sandwiches, making the shop a perfect spot for lunch or dinner in addition to satisfying round the clock cravings.
“We took a lot of pride in creating our sandwiches the same way we did our doughnuts. We also encourage our staff to take part in the creation process so you can look forward to some pretty amazing grub coming up! Can you say kimchi pulled pork!?”
And if you think your dietary restrictions are holding you back, think again. Vandal Doughnuts makes sure that they offer a little something for everyone.
“We have gluten free and vegan options available including having vegan doughnuts every day!”.
And it doesn’t end there. Vandal can hook you up with personal doughnut delivery, custom-made orders, and even catering services for your upcoming corporate event, wedding or holiday party.
“You can look forward to a lot of creative and inspired treats coming up, we hit the jackpot for talent in our staff and we can’t wait to showcase their work.”
Trust us when we say that we can’t wait either! But for now, I guess we’ll just have to settle for S’Mores, Skor Twist, and Vegan Creme Brulee ;).