Douglas Clasen expects to face angry customers this Saturday. For the past four months, he’s been part of a weekly pop-up at Tracey’s bar called Upper Nine Doughnut Company. The options include chocolate with salted caramel, crème brûlée and fresh fruit mixed with Creole cream cheese mousse.
They use local fruit. The only exception is strawberries, because those doughnuts are so popular. Blueberries are now out of season. And Thursday night (Aug. 22), Clasen’s farmer called to say the figs, which get covered in a goat cheese spread and balsamic reduction, aren’t yet ripe.
Right now, Upper Nine Doughnut Company contracts with a local bakery for the base doughnut. Filling and icing is done each Saturday in Tracey’s kitchen. What comes out of the walk-up windows are closer to a pastry chef’s creations than the typical breakfast indulgence. Melissa Haggerty creates the rotating menu of eight doughnuts.
“Melissa is the evil genius behind the recipes,” Clasen said. “I think she likes the term doughnut mistress.”
Eventually Clasen, Haggerty and the other two partners, Glen Haggerty and Michael Cain, want a permanent location. The plan is to have three small shops around town.
Why is a pop-up on Magazine Street named after a downtown neighborhood? Cain, an artist, has his studio in the Upper 9th Ward. The Haggertys live there. In fact, Glen Haggerty’s grandfather used to call that neighborhood home long before it was called Bywater. Eventually, the partners hope to open a permanent Bywater location.
The Upper Nine Doughnut Company pops up every Saturday at Tracey’s (2604 Magazine St.) from 8 a.m. until the doughnuts sell out. Usually that happens around the time the bar opens at 11 a.m.
The pop-up and the bar sometimes share customers.
“There’s always the occasional person,” Clasen said, “who wants doughnuts and beer.”