I recently visited the new doughnut shop in Troy, Nibble Inc. (461 Broadway), and had a bit of a different experience than everything I’ve read online. I think a lot of that had to do with expectations I had based on various events leading up to the opening of Nibble Inc:
- The shop resides in the former location of Francesca’s Cafe, and I had many a great sandwich and fond memories at that location.
- On Facebook, Francesca openly supported the development of the new business. (I have lots of respect for Francesca.)
- Local blogger, The Fuj had a sneak peek at the shop, and his pictures looked incredible. (The Fuj knows his food and drink.)
- Local reporter, Danielle Sanzone, speaks very highly of the product. (I trust her, too.)
- I love doughnuts.
- And then there were all of the other musings of praise I read on twitter and facebook.
The morning I was planning to go, I received a message from a friend who works in a bakery who had been at Nibble Inc. earlier. She tipped me off to the pricing of the doughnuts.
I wouldn’t say the pricing is particularly a problem, but I will say that it does a lot to define expectations. If I’m going to pay $2.50 (the equivalent of five arcade plays of Mortal Kombat) for one doughnut, it ought to be special. I have paid a premium for doughnuts in an elevated experience; these brilliant bites rang in between $3 and $4 per doughnut and were worth every penny.
I liken it to the example of the $5 milkshake. If I have the money, I’ll pay more than I usually would for something outstanding, but I really want the experience to measure up to Vincent Vega drinking that $5 shake.
When I stepped in to Nibble Inc. and took a look at the menu chalkboard, looking at the options, it seemed hopeful. Actually, I made up my mind on exactly what I wanted to try, the blackberry cassis signature doughnut, and to my dismay, all that was left were dark chocolate sea salt and one that wasn’t on the menu, lavender honey. A tray of apple cider doughnuts came out as soon as I reached the counter, but $1.50 for one cider doughnut in upstate NY is a hard sell for me.
The dark chocolate sea salt didn’t look like it would be worth $2.50, so I assumed the lavender honey was little more than their classic yeast risen doughnut and would cost $1.50. I ordered two from the guy at the counter (who was super nice and even complimented me on my Hulkamania t-shirt), and my total was $5.40. I sat down and ate my doughnut in the shop and took one home for my wife.
The meager enhancement atop the classic doughnut was most certainly not worth the extra buck. I sensed a small taste of honey, but that’s pretty much it.
The doughnut itself was the bigger disappointment. I’m familiar with this style of doughnut, as my mom makes similar special Italian potato doughnuts around Christmastime (I know the name we call them but have no idea how to spell it). The dough of Nibble’s classic doughnut is very much like these and had good flavor but the unfortunate texture of something that sat out longer than its shelf-life. Seeing how quickly their display had flown out the door that day, it’s improbable that my doughnut hadn’t been made that morning, but it tasted that way. The bottom half of the doughnut I took for Cassie was inedibly overcooked.
I’ve heard this business venture is new for the owners, so part of me understands that it may take time for quality and consistency to reach an acceptable standard. But, also, clients shouldn’t be paying a premium (even $1.50 per doughnut is a premium) while a business finds its way.
So I’m really torn between all of the great things that I’m hearing, my expectations based on the pricing, and my lukewarm experience. I guess I’ll give it some time and see if I capture the magic on my next visit.