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Top Pot Cofounder Spins Off a New Doughnut Shop on Capitol Hill

Arriving in August, Half and Half Doughnut Co. will replace the former Sun Liquor Distillery Bottle Shop on East Pike.

Mexican hot chocolate and chai old fashioned doughnuts will make appearances on the menu.

In 2002, brothers Mark and Michael Klebeck opened a small doughnut eatery on Capitol Hill—you know it as the beloved mega-chain Top Pot Doughnuts. But now Michael’s embarking on a new bakery: Half and Half Doughnut Co. will open in the former Sun Liquor Distillery space on East Pike come mid-August.

When it was last reported, the opening was projected for July, but that date has been pushed back—such is opening a new spot in Seattle these days.

Why another doughnut shop for the Top Pot cofounder? Klebeck says he felt that Top Pot had reached a point where the doughnut-shaped die had been cast, so to speak, and he was ready to try out some new concepts and ideas percolating in his head.

“I love that part of the business when you’re first starting out,” he says. “It’s the thing that drives me, and I love the idea that there’s no formula and no recipe, per se. You can start being a lot more adventurous with things.”

Unlike Top Pot, the restaurant won’t have any seating inside. The bakery’s director of operations, Jeanine Sbisa, says it’s meant to be a grab-and-go concept, so customers are likely to grub on their coffee and snacks on the road. Expect espresso drinks plus drip coffee brewed from a rotating mix of local roasters.

The menu is still in the works, but some definite bites will include filled and cake doughnuts, savory and sweet scones, and easily portable cookies. Head baker Alex Schwartzstein, formerly the bakery lead at the now-shuttered Proven Bread in Woodinville, has been working on the menu for the last two months and plans to experiment as he goes.

“We’ve been looking to take people’s tastes and their fun ideas into account and do what seems interesting instead of sticking to a strict menu that would never vary,” says Schwartzstein.

This means treats such as roasted pineapple fritters and doughnuts in a pineapple upside-down cake style. Savory fritters will likewise make an appearance—breakfast style with onions and roasted potatoes. And look out for some traditional breakfast sandwiches on brioche buns. Everything will be made in-house by Schwartzstein and his team of three.

In the future, Klebeck hopes to expand outside of Seattle and, eventually, outside of Washington. “I really want to become a West Coast presence,” he says.

Closer to home, though, expect those experimental doughnuts and savory grab-and-go bites to arrive on Capitol Hill mid-August. Until then, stay tuned for updates as we have them.

These doughnuts hit East Pike real soon.

Arriving in August, Half and Half Doughnut Co. will replace the former Sun Liquor Distillery Bottle Shop on East Pike.

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