JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A craft bakery pop-up that specializes in Japanese-style doughnuts plans to open its first permanent Northeast Florida shop this summer near St. Johns Town Center.
Dochi Japanese Mochi Donuts focuses on the light, airy and chewy fried doughnuts made with sweet rice flour. The treat has been popular on the West Coast and Hawaii.
The dough nuggets are fashioned into a small circle and then fried and glazed or topped with a variety of flavored toppings.
Mochi donuts typically have half the calories as regular cake or yeast doughnuts, the company said in a news release announcing the project.
Co-founders Jason Le and Frank Phan are partnering with restaurateur brothers Jimmy and Johnny Tung to bring the Japanese doughnut shop to Jacksonville.
They plan to open the brick-and-mortar Dochi shop at 4860 Big Island Drive, next door to BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi at the Markets at Town Center, a company spokeswoman told the Times-Union.
As proposed, a 1,000-square-foot space previously used by Mochi Frozen Yogurt will be renovated for the doughnut shop.
“Ever since we opened Bento 11 years ago, we wanted to introduce Jacksonville to new and exciting food concepts, progressing the food scene with Domu, Soupa Noodle Bar, and Norikase,” Jimmy Tung said in the news release.
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“We’re proud to be part of that push to grow the community’s food culture boundaries,” Tung also said.
Among the popular Dochi flavors are Ube glaze, taro pebbles, and the Japanese-inspired Matcha Oreo.
The shop, which makes the donuts fresh each morning, will rotate doughnut flavors. Ultimately, it plans to offer mochi pops and waffles.
The Town Center store plans to offer freshly made coffee and specialty drinks, such as Strawberry Matcha Latte, Ube Milk Tea and Vietnamese Yogurt Coffee to complement the doughnuts.
The Town Center location will be the first in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida for Dochi, which has locations in Washington state and plans to open a permanent location soon in Orlando, where the company is headquartered, the spokeswoman said.
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“What drives us is the reaction we get from someone opening a Dochi box, and seeing those delicious, colorful donuts for the first time. That makes it all worth it,” Phan said in the news release.
Le and Phan, both from South Florida, were childhood friends whose travels and culinary experiences inspired them to start the doughnut brand.
Le discovered mochi doughnuts while working for JetBlue and traveling to Japan and Hawaii. Phan had previous doughnut shop experience.
Phan will oversee the new Orlando and Jacksonville locations. Le is focusing his attention on Seattle, Denver and other West Coast markets, according to the news release.