The Doughnut Plant, the artisan sweet shop whose international reputation far outweighs the size of its tiny storefront at 379 Grand St., is acquiring some room to stretch.
The 11-year-old bakery and retail operation will take over the former frame shop at 377 Grand St. next door, which until a couple of weeks ago housed an old-fashioned photo and art store that also doubled as a shoe and watch repair shop. The news came tonight from Frank Durant, of Charles H. Greenthal and Co. Greenthal manages the commercial strip along Grand between Essex and Norfolk streets, which is owned by the neighboring Seward Park Cooperative.
Doughnut Plant owner Mark Israel will use the new square footage for more baking and a bigger storefront retail space, Durant told Seward Park shareholders at an annual meeting this evening. The two parties inked the deal today, he said. Israel did not respond to emails or messages left for him at the store last week asking about his plans for the new space. The former tenant had two years left on his lease, but asked to be released from it, said Durant, Greenthal’s general manager for the Seward Park property, which also includes neighborhood favorite Kossar’s Bialys on the same strip.
The original Doughnut Plant shop has been drawing tourists to Grand Street from all over the city, the country and the world to the neighborhood since 2000, when Israel moved his fledgling wholesale baking business out of a Lower East Side tenement basement. Customers stand in lines that often stretch down the block on weekends, while neighborhood old-timers gawk–often, from the stoop of the frame shop next door, which was a gathering place for some long-time residents to chat. Meanwhile, the doughnut shop has been featured on many, many food shows, and in magazines from Saveur to Vogue, and a box of its goodies made a cameo on the sitcom “Ugly Betty.”
Cake and yeast doughnuts in flavors like “Blackout” chocolate, creme brulee and cream-filled coconut baked on-site elicit groans of delight on the street outside, where one tiny bench often overflows with sticky-fingered fans.
The Chelsea Hotel shop, which opened in February, has a much bigger footprint. There are also more than two dozen Doughnut Plants in Asia.