On University Parkway, there is a new doughnut, corn dog and boba tea spot that is so pretty you'll be eager to whip out your phone to post to social the moment you walk through the door.
The combination Mochinut and RoyalTea is outfitted with a greenery wall and a neon light fixture that proclaims, "Don't Kill My Vibe," to all who enter. As you might expect, the vibes are impeccable. Everyone is snapping shots of their colorful doughnuts, laughing and comparing tasting notes, because at this shop everything is delicious and everything is beautiful.
Owner Lee Chu has lived in the Sarasota area for more than 10 years, and her love of boba inspired her to pursue the franchise.
"I have drunk so many kinds of boba, but I love RoyalTea for their fresh fruit tea," she says.
But having a fun beverage shop wasn't enough for Chu. She wanted a spot where people could gather and snack while sipping their drinks, so she set out to turn her shop into a combination franchise where people could pick up ever-Instragrammable mochi doughnuts and Korean-style corn dogs.
Mochi is a rice flour that is often used as a gluten substitute in baking. You may be familiar with mochi ice cream, with its sticky shell encasing cold sweet ice cream in flavors like matcha or taro. Mochi doughnuts and corn dogs use that same flour in place of wheat flour and the result is chewy but still light and fluffy.
The menu rotates throughout the day, and the morning doughnut flavors are often replaced with new options by midday. The team at the front counter walks me through their current offerings, which include white chocolate topped with dried strawberries, strawberry glazed and cinnamon sugar—all molded into rings of eight connected balls, which evoke the image of Wilma Flinstone's necklace.
I'm looking forward to sampling my doughnut selections, but what I'm here for is the corn dog. Mochinut offers traditional, potato or hot Cheeto, with either a plain hot dog, a hot dog and cheese, or just cheese stuffed into the center. I opt for a traditional with hot dog and cheese, called a "half and half." When it arrives, still steaming from the fryer, I can't wait to take a bite. The crisp exterior gives way to a dense and chewy dough until I hit the center, where melted mozzarella comes pouring out, creating an epic cheese pull connecting the corn dog to my mouth. It's a textural revelation that lives up to the social media hype.
I sample each of my selections: a white chocolate-dipped doughnut, then back to the corn dog, followed by a sip of crème brûlée boba tea. The combination of savory then sweet, crunchy then fluffy, keeps me on cloud nine.
Mochinut and RoyalTea is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 8433 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota. For more information, call (941) 217-6060 or visit the shop's Instagram page.