Mighty Donuts Crafts Highly Inventive Sweets in Red Hook

With original flavors and a vintage vibe, Mighty Donuts rolls onto Red Hook’s main drag.

No one is saying there’s anything wrong with the Hudson Valley’s ubiquitous cider donuts: They are undoubtedly delicious. But some people want to take that humble treat and transform it. Namely, Dennis Kanuk, a land use lawyer, and Rhianon Jones, a filmmaker, who aren’t afraid to serve up donuts in haute flavors like brown butter and kiwi pineapple mint.

For a few years, the couple’s baked goods have been popping up around the area. And now their Mighty Donuts eatery debuted in late January on Route 9 in Red Hook, serving their namesake creations plus other fun fare, like breakfast burritos and, of course, plenty of coffee.

Mighty Donuts

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The desire to be in Red Hook and get serious about donut making had been brewing for a while. For about three years, Jones and Kanuk were living bicoastally between Dutchess County and Los Angeles. Why all the zigzagging cross-country? The pull of family: Kanuk’s four kids from a previous relationship were based in the Hudson Valley. By May 2020, the couple decided to move to Red Hook full time and raise their blended family (they have two little ones) in the area.

Once settled in Red Hook, the couple craved the donuts they used to get on the West Coast. “While living in L.A., we had become quite the connoisseurs. The donut scene there is so evolved with shops like SK, Sidecar, and Donut Friend,” says Jones. “We missed the quality and creativity of those donuts.”

So Kanuk and Jones began collaborating with chefs Mia Kanuk (Dennis’ sister) and Marc Stallard (Mia’s boyfriend) in September 2021. A little more than a year later…perfection. The results were so good that they began selling them at Tivoli’s Lasting Joy Brewery, run by their friends Alex and Emily Wenner. “We’re really grateful to Lasting Joy for helping us get started, and we’re excited about a new upcoming collaboration, a special beer brewed with our donuts,” says Jones.

The donuts were also sold at gourmet shops around the area, but the eatery in Red Hook marks the realization of a dream for the family business. “We’re trying to make some of the best donuts people in Red Hook have ever had, with flavors they’ve never tried before,” explains Kanuk. That involves using local ingredients and developing Wonka-worthy varieties. “The blueberry green tea and the watermelon tajín are a couple we are particularly proud of,” adds Jones, “and we were quite pleased with a recent cola donut experiment.”

The original intention was for Mighty Donuts to be housed in a vintage diner. Jones saw a retro restaurant for sale in New Jersey on eBay and wound up buying it in a bidding war. They intended to park the green and silver structure in Red Hook, but hit zoning snags and had to find a different path. “Some might say buying it was a bad decision, but it opened up a lot of wonderful decisions for us,” she adds. They plan to use the diner in Leedsville for another project in the works.

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Having a business based in Red Hook was nonnegotiable, so they snapped up and renovated the old Bottini Fuel building across from Holy Cow ice cream on Route 9. Renovations lasted until early 2024—the garage doors were replaced with roll-up glass panels that will be opened for an indoor-outdoor vibe and patio dining during warm weather. Inside, you’ll find a bar serving donuts and java via a custom La Marzocco espresso machine amid a sunny cream and mint interior with additional seating.

The donuts will vary with seasonal ingredients sourced from nearby farms. There will be inventive combos like raspberry-black pepper jelly-filled donuts and strawberry-basil frosted varieties, along with twists and fritters. But it’s not just sugary fare at Mighty Donuts: Brioche sandwiches will be available with a side of homemade hash browns, and savory hand pies (think burrata, cherry tomatoes, and scallions) also promise to be popular.

donuts

Using local ingredients is a key part of their recipe for success. Kanuk notes that on the drive to their daughter’s preschool, the family passes the farm that grows blueberries for their donuts, and when they go to the local pool, they’re across the street from the farm where they get their eggs. “Last fall we ran the donut shack at Rose Hill Farm, and used their apples to make donuts,” he says. “That kind of direct connection, woven into your everyday life, is pretty special.”

Related: Where to Find Gourmet Donuts in the Hudson Valley

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