The Washington Post

District Doughnut soft-opening throughout August

When Greg Menna and Juan Pablo Segura were high school students together at The Heights in Potomac, they would snack on doughnuts after school.

"Almost a half a dozen," Menna said. "We would just crush doughnuts."

Years later, when Segura was looking to enter the world of entrepreneurship, he visited the Doughnut Plant in New York, and recalled his after-school snack. He and Menna brought pastry chef Christine Schaefer into the business, and the three co-founded District Doughnut, which has been operating for the past three years as a catering/special order business, most recently out of Union Kitchen. All of its founders are younger than 28.

Doughnuts by District Doughnut, clockwise from top left: Dulce de leche, lemon meringue, chai tea creme brulee, and blueberry almond (Maura Judkis/for The Post)
Doughnuts by District Doughnut, clockwise from top left: Dulce de leche, lemon meringue, chai tea creme brulee, and blueberry almond (Maura Judkis/for The Post)

This month, District Doughnut will open its storefront doors at 749 Eighth St. SE. The shop will host a series of soft openings throughout the month -- check @DCDoughnut for announcements -- with an expected grand opening during the second week of September (Update: The shop will open Sept. 12). District Doughnut is located across from the Marine Barracks, which hosts a parade every Friday evening through Aug. 29; some of the soft openings will coincide with these events.

District Doughnut co-founders Greg Menna and Christine Schaefer. District Doughnut co-founders Greg Menna and Christine Schaefer.

The small shop's front windows face the barracks entrance, while the space is decorated in shades of crisp white and a color described as "poolside blue." The daily menu will consist of six yeast doughnuts and two cake doughnuts, and coffee by Compass Coffee.

(Read more about Compass in From the Ground Up, The Post's ongoing series about starting a small business in D.C.)

Doughnuts will cost $2-$3. Eventually, Schaefer hopes to broaden the menu to include savory doughnuts and ice cream. Schaefer will also be making six-packs of miniature gluten-free doughnuts using buckwheat flour.

District Doughnut has made a name for itself with its doughnut delivery service -- Menna says he used to deliver them in a suit and tie -- and Schaefer's beautiful presentation. The shop ranked high in the Food section's doughnut ranking last year, with extra praise heaped upon the brown-butter doughnut.

Some of the flavors that will be available upon opening include chai tea creme brulee, blueberry almond, lemon meringue and dulce de leche. The doughnuts are more manageably sized than some of the District's other gargantuan doughnuts, so you won't feel guilty if you eat the whole thing.

"Don't cut them," Schaefer said. "Everything falls off." They're so pretty, you won't want to split them, anyway.

District Doughnut, 749 Eighth St SE (Metro: Eastern Market). Official opening: September. 

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.



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