As the co-owner of a new doughnut shop in Costa Mesa, Sumter Pendergrast believes in the concept of the tried-and-true treats.
After all, he says, with that cupcake craze "on the way out," Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee can take over with its daily selection of six to eight artisan varieties — among them the already popular huckleberry, maple bacon and cinnamon crumb — that are made fresh each morning.
Sidecar, 270 E. 17th St., has its grand opening Friday. Once inside the 927-square-foot vintage-themed shop, patrons can choose from the day's doughnut and pastry selection, and some coffee from Portland, Ore.-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
"We're not into doing a bunch of flavors [every day]," Pendergrast said during Sidecar's preview event Wednesday morning. "We want to do a small range of flavors and do them really well.
"Same with the coffee menu. It's simple and sparse, but we aim to do it as well as we can."
Making that day's doughnuts, though, is no quick process: It starts as early as 1 a.m. and takes about five hours from start to finish, said Brooke Desprez, Sidecar's chef. On Wednesday the Costa Mesa resident was all smiles about the new one-holed products coming out of the fryer and onto the display trays.
"I love how creative you can be with doughnuts," Desprez said. "I have a s'more one, I have a peanut butter cup one, I have all the fresh fruits that we can use."
Her personal favorite: a guava-glazed doughnut.
"What I realized is that anything can become a doughnut, really," Desprez said, whose background is in catering.
So far, Sidecar has about 50 flavors in its cookbook, some of which will be seasonal, she said.
Doughnuts range from $2.50 to $3.50 on average. A dozen can cost anywhere from $24 to $36.
The planning for Sidecar started in January 2012. The name Sidecar came when Pendergrast's stepfather was partaking in a doughnut tasting for family and friends. They were serving doughnut holes and thinking of offering them alongside a doughnut.
The stepfather commented it was "like a sidecar."
"Eventually we thought it was a good name for the whole place," Pendergrast said, who describes Sidecar's vintage decor as late-1940s industrial Chicago with some wood alongside the steel interior to make the place feel more comfortable.
Sidecar's "ready to party" catering truck is vintage too. It's a 1959 Harvester Metro Van painted in an old-school, Coca-Cola-esque red.
Pendergrast co-owns the store with his wife, Chi-lin. The business has about 20 employees and is a totally new type of venture for the Newport Beach couple.
Pendergrast worked as a clothing designer and painter; Chi-lin is a professional photographer. She also owned eclectic retailer LMNOP, which, until July 2012, had a storefront on 31st Street on the Balboa Peninsula.
They are excited about being on the bustling East 17th Street business corridor, which, because they live about a mile away, they have been frequenting for years.
Sidecar plans to open weekdays at 7 a.m. and weekends at 8 a.m. And the closing time?
"We open the doors," Pendergrast said, "and we go until we're sold out."