PinkBox Doughnuts, a renowned doughnut shop known for its made-from-scratch classic and gourmet doughnuts, will be opening its first California branch in Berkeley in mid-May.
PinkBox in Berkeley will feature popular specialities, including a maple bacon doughnut, a caramel cheesecake doughnut, cronuts and the Fat Elvis, a peanut butter and banana doughnut. Favorites that have gained popularity in recent months include unicorn and “poomoji” doughnuts.
The Nevada-based doughnut chain has locations in Henderson, Summerlin and Las Vegas. Over time, the chain has gained a large following on various social media platforms including Instagram and Facebook.
Bill Armanino Jr., former owner of the now-closed Sandwich Spot in Berkeley, decided along with his brother Roberto Armanino to open a PinkBox location in Berkeley after testing the market with a pop-up shop called Bomba Doughnuts. The new PinkBox will be located at 2319 Shattuck Ave. next to Venus Cafe.
“I love Berkeley. I love the people,” said Bill Armanino Jr., who will be in charge of the PinkBox in Berkeley. “You have students, businesspeople, people moving in — it’s a lively and entertaining town.”
Bomba Doughnuts was part of an eight-month test project that ran from October 2016 to May 2017, according to Bill Armanino Jr. During the course of the project, a lot of people urged PinkBox to expand to California.
“We kept getting people saying, ‘Can you bring PinkBox to California?’ ” Roberto Armanino said. “Since (my brother and I) are from here and have a pretty big following, we wanted to open one.”
The doughnut shop prides itself on its classic and gourmet doughnuts, which are made from scratch daily, according to Roberto Armanino.
“We are blessed to be so busy that we are always putting out fresh product,” Roberto Armanino said. ”We have to put our product at a high standard because people are expecting a lot, and when people are expecting a lot, it’s easier to disappoint.”
Samir Bourema and Ghani Ourdani, employees at local doughnut shop King Pin Donuts, said they do not feel that the addition of a PinkBox in Berkeley will affect their own business. Since the Berkeley PinkBox location is not very close to King Pin Donuts, Bourema and Ourdani said they don’t believe the new chain will affect the clientele they receive.
“When it comes to the university, we draw a lot of students,” Ourdani said. “This doughnut shop has (been running for) more than 70 years. It’s a very famous doughnut shop.”
Campus freshman Matt Arena, a customer at King Pin Donuts, said it seems that PinkBox and King Pin appeal to different demographics.
“I just think that there are two different markets that they are trying to get,” Arena said. “King Pin has an old-school doughnut feel. I feel like gourmet doughnuts appeal to a different crowd.”