A few years after a failed Kickstarter campaign derailed plans to open a late-night, fried-to-order doughnut bar on Capitol Hill, Justin Newstrum’s 9th and Hennepin — named for a Tom Waits track and inspired by New Orleans’ famous beignet shop, Cafe du Monde — has resurfaced as a booth at farmers markets, including Sundays on Capitol Hill and Saturdays in South Lake Union.
Starting Thursday, July 12, 9th and Hennepin is also selling its various fritters, crullers, brioche thumbprints, and cake doughnuts, topped and filled with seasonal flavors like blackberry-raspberry or verbena sugar and strawberry compote, at Bar Ciudad and Badwill’s new biweekly Georgetown market.
A veteran of now-defunct Crave and a former executive chef of Portage Bay Cafe, Newstrum held some doughnut pop-ups in 2014 but lost his shot at a Capitol Hill space when his Kickstarter fell short of its $16,000 goal. Similarly, a permanent pop-up at the Capitol Hill Bauhaus fell through, and that business shuttered shortly thereafter. (It returned in Ballard in 2016 under new ownership.) So Newstrum bounced around the industry a bit, eventually helping Old Ballard Liquor Co. owner Lexi open her Nordic cafe in 2016 before shifting to a nonprofit.
In 2017, Newstrum says, he started to attract interest again in 9th and Hennepin, but by that point Seattle’s real estate market had exploded. “Landlords want a ton of money on anything that has a usable kitchen, and there are always multiple people vying for the same spot — even in the more traditionally low-rent parts of the city like Georgetown and South Park,” where Newstrum lives and works, he says. The doughnut market had also blown up, with upscale competitors like General Porpoise and Rodeo Donut leading to even more fancy newcomers like Raised Doughnuts and Side Hustle. “Through it all, though, no one is attempting what I am, doing things hot and made to order,” he says.
Now Newstrum is trying to prove that with at least a year of farmers market appearances, building a client base before returning to banks and landlords in another attempt to secure a permanent home. Markets are a perfect fit for 9th and Hennepin since Newstrum is determined to work with local, seasonal ingredients: potatoes for the raised and cake doughnuts, berries and cherries for summer jams, pumpkins, butternut squashes, quince, apples, and pears for fall fillings.
He cites New Orleans’ iconic beignet shop, Cafe du Monde, and Pioneer Square’s pasta perfectionist, Il Corvo, as his biggest inspirations: “Everything made to order, a few different ever-changing flavors per day, reasonable prices.”
For now, Facebook and Instagram are the best places for fans to find 9th and Hennepin’s hot, super-fresh fried dough.
- 9th & Hennepin Is Bringing “Fresh Fried, Hot Doughnuts” to Capitol Hill [ESEA]
- 9th and Hennepin Pop-Up at Pettirosso; Halloween at Porkchop & Co. [ESEA]
- 9th and Hennepin [Facebook]
- 9th and Hennepin [Instagram]
- More Bad News: Bauhaus Owners Closing All Cafes and Zayda Buddy’s [ESEA]
- Rejoice: Beloved Bauhaus Is Open Again in Ballard, Under New Ownership [Seattle Times]
- Scandinavian Cafe Opens Inside Aquavit Distillery [ESEA]
- All Coverage of 9th and Hennepin [ESEA]