openings

A Doughnut Shop That Doubles As a Bar — Finally

Dromedary Doughnuts is part bakery, part speakeasy.

Ra Ra Rhino is aptly named. Photo: Nick Johnson
Ra Ra Rhino is aptly named. Photo: Nick Johnson

From the outside, Bushwick’s Dromedary Doughnuts looks like any other doughnut shop: Its cheerful pink awning and grinning-doughnut logo give way to a bright shop with various flavors of doughnuts lined up, waiting to be placed into pink boxes. But Dromedary flips the usual baker’s hours, opening at 5 p.m. And unlike the Dunkin’s dotted around the neighborhood, Dromedary also houses its own speakeasy, Ra Ra Rhino, hidden behind the shop’s photo booth, a dimly lit room that screams ’70s Miami raunch, with a sparkling purple rhinoceros bust that periodically shoots fog from its nostrils.

The project is helmed by owners Michael Lombardozzi and Chris Wescott as well as chef Annabel Sharahy, who had been working on her doughnut recipe for years: While running bread production at Eleven Madison Park, she turned the scraps of brioche into doughnuts for family meal. They were a hit. “I’m a sucker for praise,” Sharahy says. “It’s like half the reason I became a chef.”

Many of the doughnuts pull inspiration from the cocktail menu at Lombardozzi’s first bar, a tiki den also called Dromedary, like the Glass Moon, a passionfruit-glazed spin on a bourbon-sour riff that goes by the same name. The Chocoquito channels the warm spice of coquito, while the Alscapone is a filled with pineapple mascarpone before it’s topped with a hot-honey butterscotch sauce and prosciutto chips.

Savory food includes a Martini Caesar with discarded yeast from the doughnuts and gin in its dressing, and fried planks of Spam, served in the tin (naturally) and paired with a yolky dip of maple gochujang sauce. Cacio e pepe beignets translate Sharahy’s buttermilk-based dough into savory pockets of Pecorino and black pepper.

To drink: How about a Vegemite martini? It’s surprisingly subtle, with the yeast spread’s umami helping to mellow out the gin-and-vodka blend. Other drinks lean tiki — rum, orgeat, Falernum, and blue curaçao all make appearances — though garnishes tend to be kept in check.

Taken together, it’s fun, but still — a doughnut shop–speakeasy? “I don’t think it makes any sense to provide the same thing that you’re going to get down the block,” Lombardozzi says. “If we all did the same fucking thing, what fun is anything?”

Cacio e pepe beignets inside, business as usual outside. Megan Paetzhold.
Cacio e pepe beignets inside, business as usual outside. Megan Paetzhold.

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A Doughnut Shop That Doubles As a Bar — Finally