A new pop-up with London roots boasting doughnuts and fritters made its Austin debut this spring. Co-owners Molly and chef Brad McDonald relaunched 1235Donuts in the Texas city in mid-April. The weekend pop-ups take place at East Austin restaurant Lou’s on 1900 East Cesar Chavez Street for pickups.
1235Donuts’s doughnut is a boule-shaped brioche beignet stuffed with pastry cream (the original London iteration was a square shape). There are staple fillings such as cajeta, vanilla bean, salted caramel, lemon curd, and pistachio creme brulee. Then there are seasonal offerings such as strawberry jam and a strawberry cream with a matcha glaze.
The menu also includes fritters (flavors have included banana-passionfruit and pineapple-coconut) as well as doughnut holes. Each weekend’s menu offers about eight options.
The McDonalds started 1235Donuts while they were living in East London in 2014, inspired by the famous flower market in their neighborhood, the Columbia Road Flower Market. “It wasn’t uncommon for the folks who live on the street to either own a shop or have some sort of door/window hustle on Sundays,” Brad tells Eater. Soon after they moved onto the street, Molly put out the idea of making and selling doughnuts, and they did. The first pop-up sold out quickly, and soon it became a regular fixture through 2016.
The pop-up’s name came from the couple’s daughter, Maren. They asked her how many doughnuts she wanted, “One, two, or three?” Her answer was “Five!’ Hence why there the number four isn’t in the resulting name.
During the McDonalds’s time in London, the couple was partners behind Southern American restaurant the Lockhart and barbecue restaurant Shotgun BBQ. Later, they moved to New Orleans where Brad led Eliza Jane Hotel restaurant, French brasserie Couvant. The restaurant was named the most gorgeous restaurant of the year and Brad was a chef the year nominee in 2018 by Eater New Orleans. They then worked at the Ace Hotel, Molly in the marketing department, and Brad as the food and beverage director for the property and its sibling hotel Maison de la Luz.
The McDonalds are loosely looking for a 1235Donuts space where they could offer more items too.
They had been thinking about moving to Austin for a while, and finally did it last August. Brad is part of the development team for St. Elmo Public Market. The long-in-the-works mixed-use development and hall was announced back in 2015. It’s set to include a bakery and diner from Olamaie, the third location of Salt & Time, the second location of Family Business Beer Co., and more. It’s aiming to open sometime this year.
1235Donuts’s hours at Lou’s are from 8 a.m. until sold out on Saturdays and Sundays. Orders are available on an in-person first-come, first-served basis, and preorders for six or more doughnuts can be taken over Instagram direct messages.
- 1235Donuts [Instagram]