Mi Kim is a planner. And she has the excel spreadsheets to prove it, loaded into a thumb drive dangling from her car keys wherever she goes, her plans and timelines always at the ready. Mi Kim is also a baker. And she has the chops to back that up, too. Kim was a lead pastry chef at Macrina Bakery for nearly a decade, but left the Seattle company in December, a year and a half after she first gave her notice. It was in this last year and a half that Kim, along with her business partner I-Miun Liu (Oasis Tea Zone, Eastern Cafe, forthcoming East Trading Co.), ran her ever-popular popup Raised Doughnuts.
With near immediate hype, Kim's doughnuts regularly drew lines wherever her yeast-raised rings of glory showed up around Seattle, which was often inside Eastern Cafe, Citizen Coffee, U Village, or even Eric Rivera's own popup, Addo, on Capitol Hill (a very meta popup situation indeed).
But soon, hopefully this May or perhaps June, says Kim, Raised Doughnuts will open in a space of its own at 1101 23rd Avenue in the Central District.
Kim will transform a former cash-for-gold-exchange-slash-minimart into a cozy home base for her massively adored doughnuts. Regular favorites such as apple fritter, raspberry holes, and gluten-free mochi will be on display near the entrance and on sale daily alongside a rotating menu of flavors that will change after a month or so. Meanwhile doughnut onlookers can watch the magic happen near the back of the space where Kim will set up production. There'll be scant seating, including a covetable gold table—gold being Kim's favorite color—where folks can hunker down with their haul and perhaps some coffee. Raised Doughnut will serve brews from Dorothea Coffee, Broadcast Coffee Roasters, and Fidalgo.
It all sounds like a fairly familiar setup: doughnuts, coffee, tons of happy customers. But even with its huge following, don't expect Raised Doughnuts to go into expansion mode just yet. "I don't want to be a Top Pot," says Kim. Meaning, it's not all about wholesale operations or opening locations across the city. Her ultimate goal is to "bring back that memory of a gas station doughnut," she says, like the fluffy, nostalgic ones lodged in her memory. As a young girl Kim would spend weekends and summers at her parents' restaurant which meant early morning commutes and gas station pit stops, where she'd carefully choose her doughnut of the day like it would be her last. Perhaps young kids will go to the Central District bakeshop to create memories and traditions of their own, as they linger over Kim's glazed goods.
Such glazed goods, by the way, will go beyond the usual favorites. In the past, Kim's creations include ube coconut, coffee crumble, black sesame, snickerdoodle, and more. But Kim's not afraid to explore the savory world of doughnuts. Someone once quipped that her blueberry basil doughnuts were too savory for them. They tagged it: #pizzadoughnut, to which Kim thought, actually, "Pizza doughnuts sound great!" She's also considering a barbecue doughnut, in part inspired by a barbecue tour Kim went on last year that spanned from North Carolina to Georgia.
When it's up and ready to go, look for bright neon signage to point the way come May or June. The plan, says Kim, is to be open until they sell out for the day; 7am to 3pm being the tentative time range but that might be tweaked slightly as Raised Doughnuts gets a feel for its new permanent home.