Coming on the heels of a boom in homegrown coffee shops, Albuquerque’s doughnut renaissance seems apt. After all, what goes better with coffee than doughnuts?
Carrie Mettling’s Rebel Donuts, opened in 2012, was a trailblazer, and the years that followed brought notable launches such as Bristol Doughnut Co. and its double-decker bus, seen first in Nob Hill and now at Comanche and Morris NE. There’s even a vegan, gluten-free shop, Planty Sweet, near Interstate 40 and Menaul NE. The competitive atmosphere has resulted in some truly inventive combinations of glazes, toppings and fillings.
I recently visited Rise + Roast, one of the more recent arrivals, as a reward to myself for getting the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Rise + Roast opened a couple of years ago in a mixed-use complex on Eubank south of Central near Home Depot. Seven days a week, staffers turn up in the wee hours of the morning to start making the doughnuts.
There’s an active drive-through window fed in part by traffic to and from Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base. The shop has a countertop that opens onto a covered patio out front. Just inside the entrance are some cubbyholes where you can pick up orders without having to go to the register.
The place was doing steady business during my visit there on a sun-splashed weekday morning. A security guard kept watch on the premises, even though the only remotely threatening sight in the area was the display of missiles in front of the nearby National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
The case at the counter showed off a colorful selection of both yeast and cake doughnuts, some with scalloped edges, some X-shaped. The selection changes often. One day you might find mimosa doughnuts, the next, pistachio berry. Prices are in line with other shops in the city. Classics doughnuts like chocolate iced and blueberry glazed are $1.89 – the more novel varieties cost slightly more. A dozen glazed will set you back $10.99, while a dozen mixed costs $14.83. Specialty items such as apple fritters and cinnamon rolls are also available.
All of the doughnuts I tried were fresh, and the filled doughnuts had a good balance of glaze and fillings. Highlights included the banana chocolate, with yellow banana flavored frosting and a chocolate cream center, and the cherry vanilla with vanilla frosting and a cherry filling. Best of all was the lemon-filled doughnut, with a healthy serving of bright, sweet lemon custard. No skimping on the fillings here.
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Rise + Roast was offering a margarita doughnut topped with green lime-flavored frosting dipped in salt. All that was missing was a discernible tequila flavor.
As for the cake doughnuts, the chocolate glazed I had, light and airy under a thin armor of glaze, was terrific.
Rise + Roast offer smoothies and an acai bowl if you’re looking to prime the pump with some healthier foods. The acai bowl ($7.95), served with almond granola, chia seeds, strawberries and blueberries over an ice-cold acai slurry, was excellent. The fruit was flawless and the granola added crunch and cut the sweetness of the acai.
Rise + Roast sources the beans for its coffee drinks from local purveyors. The Americano ($2.85 for 16 ounces) I had, made with beans from Whispering Bean Coffee Roasters, was well executed, the hot water mellowing the strong espresso roast.
The youthful staff was masked, and the server was well-versed on the menu. She told me there were plans underway for a second location on the West Side. Sure enough, when I went out to the patio, I saw three people discussing the expansion over a stack of blueprints.
I’m not surprised. Rise + Roast’s high-quality coffee and consistent lineup of doughnuts make it a welcome addition to the city’s burgeoning doughnut shop scene.