Top Pot Doughnuts: Hand-forging World Domination

By: 
Leslie Kelly
Top Pot doughnuts
Mini-orange pistacio doughnuts from Top Pot

Hey, Big Apple! You ready for some hand-forged doughnuts?

Yup, Top Pot arrives in Manhattan later this year or early next, part of a franchise deal being worked on by the geniuses behind this now-massive operation. (This year, NYC; next year, world doughnut domination?)

No doubt about it, things are pretty sweet right now for Mark Klebeck and his brother, Michael, and their partner, Joel Radin.

The deal to franchise in New York State has been in the works for about two years, but the interest in Top Pot in the 212 really heated up after Mark and Jess Thompsonwho co-authored the Top Pot cookbook that came out in 2011went to a food film festival in NYC late last year, orange pistachio doughnuts and a gorgeous film shot by Scott Pitts on the Top Pot operation in tow (watch it below).

“It was a great event. We got a lot of buzz out of it,” Klebeck said.

Very cool.

Oh, and in another not-too-shabby development, Top Pot recently made a big splash in California, rolling out in Ralph’s Supermarkets.

With 13 locations around Seattle (the 14th café/store in Issaquah opening soon), 68 QFCs and regular appearances at Sounders/Seahawks games, 1 million doughnuts are being produced every two weeks. That’s a lot of hand-forging!

And quite the Horatio Alger-esque journey from the guy's rocky start, where the first shop didn’t even have doughnuts when it first opened in February 2002. “We sold a lot of muffins and bagels while we were trying to figure it out,” Klebeck said.

Hooray for the arrival in those early days of veteran, third-generation baker Frank Burklund, who fine-tuned the original recipe and got the operation humming smoothly. He’s still at it, too! (On behalf of Top Pot fans on both coasts, thank you, Frank!)

Finally, be sure to tune in and watch Mark and Jess compete in a new show on Food Network CANADA called Donut Showdown. It debuts April 2, so I suggest we all head up to Vancouver, throw a Top Pot party and tune in. 

Hand Forged from Armstrong Pitts Studios on Vimeo.

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