When his son turned four, Dan McGuirt gave him a book – The Donut Chef by Bob Staake. It was about a doughnut chef who, faced with neighbourly competition, creates extraordinary doughnut flavours and shapes. However, after a little girl asks for a regular, glazed doughnut he realises where he’s gone wrong: “The donut chef, he’d never guessed, of all the flavours he did test, that most folks love a glazed the best!”

The book is his inspiration for McGuirt’s new doughnut and coffee shop, Joe Dough (he previously owned Jazz City Diner and Jazz City Milk Bar). “It's just simple, old-fashioned doughnuts,” he says. After a long search for the right space, he’s opened in partnership with the QVB’s Jet Cafe. From the outside the two neighbouring cafes look like one, but inside Joe Dough you’ll find hanging doughnut-themed pillows, stools carved like doughnut stacks and a poster of the fictional doughnut chef whose epiphany first led McGuirt on his journey.

Just like in Staake’s book, his recipe is simply flour, sugar and lard. The glazes are simple, natural and seasonal. “When I go to the markets, whatever I see is what we’ll put on that day,” he says. For the opening (last weekend) there were glazes with coconut, cherry, pistachio and crunchy peanut-butter bits.

McGuirt believes the crucial aspect of his simple doughnut-making process is the yeast raise, a style he says is, “More bready, as opposed to cake doughnuts, which are denser and sweeter”. The Joe Dough variety is also a touch sour, a fine complement to the sweet glazes. If you’re curious for a comparison between the styles come back once Joe Dough is settled, McGuirt will be making both.

The only other thing served here is coffee; American filter served diner-style with Nescafé creamers and McGuirt’s homemade nut milks. They are not supposed to be milk substitutes, more like how you’d imagine chocolate milk but with hazelnut, fig or cinnamon flavours.

Jazz City Joe Dough
55/455 George Street, Sydney

Mon to Sat 7am–3pm