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Feb. 22, 2020

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Food & Drink: Next Dough Neighbor pops up in Camas

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Next Dough Neighbor uses seasonal elements to inspire doughnut glazes. (Courtesy Next Dough Neighbor.)
Next Dough Neighbor uses seasonal elements to inspire doughnut glazes. (Courtesy Next Dough Neighbor.) Photo Gallery

Josh Grossman always knew he wanted to start a food business. Years ago he imagined a fast-food pizza business, but Mod Pizza had the same idea. He also developed a business plan for an extreme food truck. When he moved to Clark County, he knew what he needed to make: doughnuts.

Grossman, owner of Next Dough Neighbor, experimented with recipes and then shared his creations with his co-workers at Trader Joe’s.

“I made my first doughnut this summer. I took it to work for the crew to try them out,” he said.

His co-workers loved the doughnuts and became his first customers. The first order was for raspberry-filled ($2 per doughnut), and he sold 22 of them.

The final recipe took a couple months of trial and error. Grossman settled on a buttermilk doughnut with more heft than a grocery store doughnut, but airier than a cake doughnut. It has only five ingredients (which are top secret) including flour from Bob’s Red Mill. The glazes and flavorings are a sophisticated mix of sweet and savory — more like Blue Star than Voodoo doughnuts. The glazes include no artificial dyes, and are made from fresh, local produce.

Once the recipe was finalized, Grossman’s wife, Ashley, set up an Instagram account and took drool-worthy photos. People ordered the doughnuts by direct message on Instagram and picked them up from Grossman at Lacamas Lake.

Grossman wasn’t sure if people would be willing to, as he put it, “meet some guy in a parking lot to pick up doughnuts.” But Camas is still a small town where people trust each other, and meeting a guy by a lake to pick up doughnuts doesn’t seem as sketchy as it would elsewhere. He was selling four to six flavors and a total of 200 doughnuts — half by the lake, half to co-workers.

This quick success led Grossman to believe he was on to something, but the Instagram-direct-message, meet-me-by-the-lake business model wasn’t sustainable. Grossman went around downtown Camas looking for a spot to do a pop-up shop.

His first was at A Beer in Time during the Camas holiday tree lighting event. He quickly sold out of 300 doughnuts.

This led to a pop-up at general contracting company Core Industries, where the owner gave out free doughnuts to entice potential buyers into the showroom. It worked so well that Next Dough Neighbor plans on regular Saturday morning pop-ups there from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (But Core Industries won’t be underwriting free doughnuts at future pop-ups.)

If You Go

What: Next Dough Neighbor’s pop-up shop grand opening.
When: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Jan. 25.
Where: Core Industries, 326 N.E. Cedar St., Camas.
Information: www.facebook.com/nextdoughneighbor or @nextdoughneighbor on Instagram.

The grand opening is Jan. 25. You can expect doughnuts in such seasonal flavors as hot cocoa, blood orange and rosemary, and coffee and hazelnut for $3 to $5 each.

The doughnut-making process is extremely labor intensive. Grossman makes every doughnut. It takes him a minimum of 12 hours. He doesn’t sleep on Friday night so the doughnuts will be fresh on Saturday morning.

Grossman’s goal is to open a shop in downtown Camas and then a chain of gourmet doughnut stores in Clark County.

Grossman is looking forward to August when he can get his hands on some fresh, local Marionberries. His first doughnut was glazed in Marionberries and topped with a ring of cheesecake. He is known as the wine guy at Trader Joe’s, so a port reduction glaze may find itself on some future doughnut concoctions.

“The fun part for me is creating new flavors,” he said.

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