By VERONICA GRAY
The line was out the door during Dough Nation’s opening weekend on Oct. 6-8. On Friday night, they had to turn away a line that curled around the corner of the neighboring business. On Saturday, the crowd returned and no one went away empty handed.
Dough Nation was an idea that started during the 2017 Gasparilla celebration with a booth sampling edible cookie dough at the music festival. The response was overwhelming and the idea to bring the newest dessert craze to Downtown Tampa was sparked then fanned into a flame until it became the small parlor on Tampa Street.
“It was crazy, they were lining up around the block,” Cliff Barsi, owner of Dough Nation said. “It was a non-stop line from 12:30 to 10 o’clock at night.”
The parlor is small, but bright and welcoming from the moment you step in the door. The smell of fresh cookie dough is all-consuming and, since it is made by hand each morning, you get a fresh batch of dough every time you visit. The options available range from a scoop of regular cookie dough to a milkshake with your choice of ice cream and dough in it and a mini cookie to go with it. There are also options to add different toppings, like caramel or fudge, to the dessert.
Dough Nation also offers tubs of their cookie dough to-go, which can be stored in the fridge for two weeks or one month in the freezer. The cookie dough can be eaten raw or baked into cookies. They also offer baked goods in store.
Kelly Hurd, junior, tried topping her double chocolate oreo cookie dough with raspberry truffle. She found the pairing to be a perfect match for the warm afternoon.
Dough Nation is also in partnership with Metropolitan Ministries (Metro), a local outreach program for the homeless here in Tampa, and all of the proceeds from this dessert parlor go to support the ministry. Dough Nation is another branch of Metro’s culinary program which is helping people transition from homelessness. There are several program graduates that now work in some of the best restaurants around Tampa.
Talia Shuman, senior, commented on how it was smart of the new business to be right across from campus. Several UT students were there opening day and Saturday during family weekend to check it out.
“The prices were fair,” Shuman said. “I like that the money goes to metropolitan ministries, too.”
The prices are not very expensive at all starting at $4 for one scoop of cookie dough and additional toppings, such as ice cream or caramel, range from $1-$2 additional dollars. Currently there is no student discount available, but there is the possibility of one in the works, since UT is right across the river.
“If you haven’t gone yet, just dough it,” Hurd said.
Dough Nation’s hours during the week are Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Veronica Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.