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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Art of the Doughvine: more than just doughnuts
Jessica Millet owned two restaurants before opening Doughvine last summer. Her love for fresh ingredients and inventive recipes comes through in her unique donut flavours, like Cookie Monster. JULIA SACCO
Doughvine is more than just donuts, with owner Jessica Millet offering a variety of breakfast and lunch options along with almost any coffee drink imaginable. JULIA SACCO
The standard flavours and much, much more, Doughvine serves up something for everyone. JULIA SACCO

Walking into Doughvine, owner Jessica Millet greets you with a smile and musings about which oat milk has the best ingredients.

Within seconds, it is clear that this is more than just a doughnut shop — it’s a project spearheaded by one person’s passion for the culinary arts.

Millet has owned two restaurants before opening Doughvine last summer and has an extensive knowledge of all things food.

When deciding to open up a doughnut place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, it was all about returning to her roots. 

“My first year of apprenticeship was in a pastry kitchen at the National Arts Centre,” Millet told The Lake Report. “I loved it.”

She looked forward to waking up at 4 a.m. to prepare for work and act as a “sponge,” she said, ready to soak up as much information as possible. 

Everything evolved from that point, Millet said, and she began baking bread and evolving her own recipes.

After selling her restaurants just before the pandemic, she decided she wanted to start a business where she could explore her passions without the crazy hustle of restaurant culture. 

“I thought back to one of my first passions which is breakfast, and the best breakfast I can do is doughnuts,” Millet said. “I love that nostalgic feeling, you can just have fun with them.”

Along with the donuts, Doughvine also offers different breads, bagels, a variety of cream cheese and an extensive coffee and tea menu – all curated with care and attention to quality. 

“I work with (NOTL) farmers. Folino Family Farms is where I get my produce from in the spring, summer and fall. It’s so fresh, you walk up to the stand and she’s like ‘Taste this peach,’” Millet said. 

“That’s what buying food should be, not making a phone call and having a truck pull up, but going out and seeing what’s growing out there, watching the bees do their dances around the sunflowers,” she continued. 

The space itself speaks to Millet’s attention to detail.

“I bought the house and looked up how to renovate a house into a restaurant,” she said, laughing. 

The property has been renovated and decorated by Millet, who frequents Facebook Marketplace and antique shops to find the perfect pieces for the space.

“I want it to be a chance for people to chill, especially when the streets can be so busy sometimes,” she said. “That’s what it’s for: downtime. Have a doughnut, watch some TV and go out and have fun in the area,” she said. 

Millet said her next project will be to install a walk-up takeout window for customers to stop by for a quick treat while walking around Old Town. 

Doughvine is just steps from Queen Street, located at 183 Victoria Street.

Hours for February are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is also open Valentine’s Day.


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