A Sweet New Addition to Pinehurst, NC

Here’s the hole truth about new village doughnut company. People with a certain fondness for doughnuts are generally divided into two camps: cake fans and yeast-raised fans. For those tending to favor the latter, there is much rejoicing to be found at the front counter of Southern Angel Donut Co. This sweet new addition to Pinehurst was born from a partnership between two local restaurateurs, a cigar shop owner, and a Florida born-and-bred doughnut expert.

“To make a long story short, I called up a few friends and said, ‘I have something for you,’” said Steve Norell, owner of Smoke Inn Cigars in Southern Pines. “I had brought back a dozen doughnuts from Florida and they were gone in 13 seconds. The next trip I brought back two dozen doughnuts and they were gone in 24 seconds.” The quickly disappearing treats were made by Sarah Hargrove, who began making doughnuts in Fort Pierce, Fla., before she could legally drive.

“It takes a lot more work, time and effort to make old fashioned yeast-raised doughnuts. A lot of people are surprised to find them because so few make them anymore,” Hargrove said. “Anybody can order the ingredients but to actually make the recipe the old way, it takes a special technique.” Norell convinced Hargrove to come take a look at Pinehurst and meet with Anthony and Toi Becke and Bill Ottmann, co-owners of Thai Fusion in Pinehurst. Ottmann also owns the nearby Little Dino’s restaurant, and Becke and his wife, Toi, also own Whispering Woods Cafe in Whispering Pines.

“Steve told me about Sarah and the doughnuts and then he brought the doughnuts for us to try. Right then and there, we were interested. Then when we met Sarah, our minds were made up. She is 100 percent the reason we decided to open the business. We fell in love with her personality, her work ethic, her drive,” said Becke. “And her ability to make doughnuts,” Norell chimed in. The doors at Southern Angel opened with little fanfare in early December, but word has gotten around. On a recent weekday morning, a steady flow of doughnut connoisseurs warmed the threshold. Hargrove said her days begin at 2:30 in the morning.

“It takes at least an hour and half to make the doughnuts, and apple fritters take a lot longer,” she said. “You have to work constantly, and it takes a lot of discipline to have the doughnuts ready at 6 a.m.”

She offers three flavors of cake doughnut — chocolate, vanilla and blueberry — but her real culinary calling is the traditional raised doughnut.

A cake doughnut is made with a sweetened dough that’s leavened with baking powder and extruded into oil to cook. They have a cake-like consistency with a slightly crunchy exterior. By contrast, a raised doughnut is made with a yeast dough cut into a shape before it is fried to perfection. This style is light and airy, but with a bit of a chew. Raised doughnuts are almost always glazed, frosted or filled.

“All of our doughnuts are handmade, and all of our icings are handmade,” Hargrove said, who describes her decision to move to Pinehurst as a leap of faith. “Steve had put the bug in my ear that we needed a doughnut shop in this area. He told me, ‘There is nothing like your doughnuts here,’ but I was scared to come. It was a big change. We have a faithful following in Florida, so opening here, I was a little nervous.”

She decided to bring along a little bit of family support and is joined at Southern Angel by her brother, Josh, her boyfriend, Alex, and her mother and children. “Alex also makes doughnuts, and my brother is a ‘Jack of all Trades’ and an awesome doughnut maker. It really meant a lot to have them here and my mom too. We can’t live without each other,” Hargrove said. She recommends that large orders should be made in advance and said if there is a special flavor or doughnut shape you are looking for, she can accommodate almost any request.

“I make 24 different flavors of doughnut, and we have a spot for a special flavor of the week,” Hargrove said. “I have at least 24 more flavors that I love to make but we just don’t have the space, so I will select a new one each week.”

Popular flavors include maple bacon and cinnamon crumb cake, and Hargrove said she can’t make enough apple fritters, but picking out a favorite doughnut flavor is not the only decision-making that’s been underway.

 You can find Southern Angel Donut Co. located side-by-side at 211 Central Park Ave. in Pinehurst, or call Southern Angel Donut Co. at (910) 420-2123.


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