Joe’s Doughs is what happens when a touring musician gets bored and needs a hobby

Joe’s Doughs is what happens when a touring musician gets bored and needs a hobby
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Joe Pepe is a professional producer, songwriter and bassist, touring around the country with his band Cairo Fire. When he’s not on the road, presumably living the rockstar life, he’s at home in Charlotte concocting wild new doughnut flavors to sell out of coffee shops as a side hobby. Makes sense, right?

Cairo Fire Charlotte

“I needed something to do on my off time,” he said. “I like to try and find a doughnut shop in every city I visit on tour so making doughnuts just made sense.”

Joe started making doughnuts at home last summer and by the fall his friends had convinced him he had something worthy of public sale so he partnered up with The Daily Press to offer a pop-up shop every other Saturday.

Joe's Doughs pop up

Joe posts the doughnut line up on Instagram, featuring different flavors at each pop-up. Here’s what was on the menu the day I dropped in:

I got the jalapeno cheddar (how could you not??), candied lemon, and white chocolate with pistachios and cranberries.

Joe's Doughs doughnuts

Where half of a Your Mom’s donut is enough fat and sugar to lay you out for the rest of the day, Joe’s Doughs are light, airy and somehow not excessive. I’m a fan, but maybe I’m still just bitter about Your Mom frying her donuts in lard. (Joe’s Doughs are fried in vegetable oil; I checked.)

Joe's Doughs doughnuts Charlotte

Joe's Doughs shirt

I asked Joe if he has plans to take his doughnuts from pop-up shop to full-blown brick and mortar storefront and his answer kind of surprised me (in a good way).

“Not necessarily,” he said. “It’s just something I like to do.”

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