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Rochester's Old Abe to 'adopt' adrift doughnut maker

A change at Forager Brewery is leaving the popular Rochester doughnut maker Drift Dough, wel, aldrift. However, Abe Sauer of Old Abe Coffee Co. is throwing a doughnut-shaped life preserver to Drift Dough. He plans to adopt Drift Dough and add it to his coffee shop and cafe at 832 Seventh St. NW.

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A popular Med City spot for coffee and vegan fare is adopting another business to add doughnuts to its offerings.

Doughnut maker Drift Dough has operated off and on in Rochester at Forager Brewery at 1005 Sixth St. NW since 2018. In that time, its creative flavors, plus vegan and gluten-free choices, have made it one of Rochester's favorites for a sweet bite in the morning. That popularity quickly grew to mean that doughnut-seekers needed to get there early, before the shop sold out for the day.

A change in strategy at Forager is changing things for Drift Dough. Forager, owned by Annie Henderson, is transforming the space in the brewery where Drift Dough operated into Forager Cafe.

That has left the doughnut business, well, adrift. However, Abe Sauer of Old Abe Coffee Co. is throwing a doughnut-shaped life preserver to Drift Dough.

While there are still more details to be worked out, Sauer explained how the Drift Dough project came together.

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“Drift Dough was facing a bit of a fork in the road. The founder has recently plunged into other retail business in his hometown of Decorah (Iowa) and Forager is looking to expand its offerings into the Forager Cafe concept. Drift Dough was in danger of being orphaned,” he wrote recently.

After the pandemic forced a temporary closure last year, Abe’s coffee shop and cafe at 832 Seventh St. NW re-opened for lunch and dinner hours, but discontinued service in the mornings. That created a way to merge the two businesses together.

“So, seeing as Drift Dough is largely mornings-only, this seemed like a good fit as we currently have a void there. DD did a lot of vegan donuts and that fits our existing menu. Plus donuts offer a great palate for creativity and eccentricity and that's kind of our jam,” he wrote.

The plan is add Drift Dough into its own space within his coffee shop. However, the timing is up in the air due to waiting on the delivery of equipment, though the hope is to launch the new Drift Dough/Old Abe pairing in the very near future.

Sauer believes adding Drift Dough to the mix will benefit more than just his business. It will add a new flavor to Rochester's Cooke Park Arts District , where his shop is located.

“Moreover, donuts/coffee further expands our vision of helping the Cooke Park block become a walkable, vibrant area with a large variety of convenient activities for all ages. Grab donuts and hit the playground. Or come off the creek path and stop in for donuts and beer,” he wrote.

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