The gourmet mini donut craze has hit cities all over the country and like most trends it takes some time for it to make its way southeast to our wonderful city. As of February the gourmet mini donut craze has made its way to our fair city. The question is will we all love it or is it all just hype? We went out to Jax Beach to find out at The Mini Bar.
On our visit The Mini Bar offered 16 regular flavors plus the weekend special which was brown sugar pop tart. You can order in quantities of 3 for $2.50, 8 for $6.50 16 for $12.75, or 24 for $19. Quantities of 8+ have limits on the number of flavors you can put in a box, so if you want to try several flavors go with two 3-packs. That way you get 6 different donuts.
The first flavor we dove head first into was strawberry sprinkle. The donut itself was a wonderful little ball of fried up goodness. Too often when you get standard mini donuts at the fair or special events they have a stale grease taste or are just too greasy overall. Not so with The Mini Donut Bar! It was fried just right, not overdone, not greasy at all. The frosting tasted great, not too sugary, not overpowering. Just the right amount of sweet strawberry flavor. Next we tried lemon poppyseed mini. This one had a very subtle lemon flavor. I could hardly taste the lemon actually. I wouldn’t order it again although I will say my partner in crime really liked it and said she could taste the lemon flavor in the icing. Next we went for the Samoa! Who doesn’t love a Samoa Girl Scout cookie? This one wasn’t as good as the cookie but was still darn good. Toasted coconut met a dark chocolate flavor topped off by a strong caramel flavor shining through. We thought it was great although more like a dark chocolate toasted coconut with caramel than a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. Following samoa we tried the sea salt caramel popcorn donut. This one comes with a few kernels of Sweet Pete’s caramel corn on top of the frosting and finished with caramel sauce. We love the partnership of featuring another local product, especially since Sweet Pete’s confections are sheer perfection. This donut was divine. The housemade caramel sauce was excellent and the caramel corn did not distract from the donut itself, it added some additional flavor and texture. If there is one you shouldn’t miss, it’s this one. Next up was the birthday cake donut. This donut can be ordered with vanilla frosting or chocolate buttercream. We went vanilla. Holy cow was it sweet! You must love really sweet things and love cake to love this one. It was a bit sweet for our taste but we ate every bite anyway. The donut we tried last was our favorite and that was the brown sugar pop tart weekend special. This donut offered the most complete combination of flavors and textures we tried. Sweet combined with that wonderful slightly grainy brown sugary taste and feel plus a bit of crunch from tiny squares of pop tart on top made this donut the pick of the pack.
In addition to our donuts we had a vanilla latte. Actually, we asked for a decaf vanilla latte due to personal caffeine restrictions and were offered a coffee and steamed milk concoction because The Mini Bar doesn’t have decaf espresso. When I walked up to the bar to get it the barista told me that the little black specks on top were from vanilla beans because they make all their own syrups in house. She just wanted me to know it wasn’t coffee grounds. The drink we were given hit the spot. It was both pretty and delicious, plus it was nice that they made a drink that would work for me.
No doubt you have already seen much of the essence of The Mini Bar in your news feeds lately- the Mini Bar bus where donuts are served and the giant Treat Yo’self sign serve as visual anchors to the enormous industrial space. There are plenty of tables and a few couches inside, along with the tables, corn hole game, and chalkboard for kids in the courtyard.
I’d been to the Mini Donut Factory in Tampa and while I enjoyed it I wasn’t blown away and definitely wasn’t yearning to go back on my next trip. Because of that experience I kind of felt like all of the buzz around gourmet mini donuts was pretty overblown. I honestly expected to have that same sort of experience at The Mini Donut Bar. We had exactly the opposite. These donuts are little bundles of joy that will brighten up your day! They’re sweet and fun. Even the people working at The Mini Bar seem to be having a great time. There wasn’t a person in the place that didn’t have a big smile on their face and look like they were having a blast. If you’re having a bad day and you’re anywhere near the beach head for The Mini Donut Bar and get a little bit of happiness.