Here’s the real reason I swung by the Shugar Shack today: I had a coupon.
Well, that and I heard a rumor that they’re carrying Rise Up coffee. I take my caffeine very seriously, and Rise Up is the richest, most velvety coffee that’s ever washed over my tongue. So when I had a “Buy a coffee or a donut, get one free” coupon for what I believe is the only place on the island that sells Rise Up, I decided to give it a go.
Shugar Shack is a small, aptly named shack, that opened on the corner of Sunset Avenue and 27th Street in June. It opened its doors very suddenly to start selling sugar. As it turns out, that sugar is in three forms: yellow cake donuts, ice cream and the sugar that goes in your (deliciously smooth) Rise Up coffee.
The joint had three or so high tables pressed against the window with no chairs, and loads of floor space. Mulling over the menu, I quickly realized why: the place is a hit with families. At least three families descended on the Shugar Shack staff, each with about two kids, wanting to get them a sweet treat in a soft-serve cone. And let me tell you, they don’t skimp on the ice cream servings. I saw five-year-olds eating vanilla ice cream the size of their fists!
Yellow cake donuts are, y’know, Ocean City’s thing with the monopoly Fractured Prune has going on in town. Shugar Shack has a few standard items: Fruit nut with fruit loops, black and white sprinkles, the bacon bits. There’s a surprise item, the Kit Kat Donut with Kit Kats on it – possibly upping the ante for Prune’s Rollo-inspired donut?
What sets these guys apart is their unashamed venture into “gotta try that” dishes that read as something you’ll probably see on Man vs. Food someday. There’s their signature Shugar Tower, where you pick a signature donut or customize one and smother it in ice cream. There’s the breakfast sandwich with traditional protein like cheese, sausage and fried egg, but with donuts as the bread.
Then they go extreme with the protein options: Shugar Burger (self-explanatory), Chicken and Waffle Donut (which is a donut glazed like a waffle) and Shugar Chicken Sandwich (the meat isn’t friend in this one). All three sandwiches are under $10, which is shocking given Ocean City’s reputation for going big on food prices.
In the end, I settled for the donut of the day, Key Lime and a large self-serve dose of Rise Up. The donut itself didn’t look appealing, but hey, it was free compared to the regular price of $2 plus tax. I felt a little claustrophobic with the cranky kids and parents packing the room, so I thought I’d walk and eat. Turns out, Shugar Shack has a nice outside seating area, which includes three benches under the sign.
After I sat down, I bit into the soft donut and the tanginess of the key lime glaze stuck to my lips. The donut was lighter than I expected a yellow cake donut to be, and the graham cracker dusting paired well to give me the illusion I was enjoying a slice of key lime pie. This version might have more calories though.
Watch your back, Fractured Prune, there’s a new donut shop on the block that does it better than you. What gives its edge is the challenge food that’ll give it a name – and Rise Up self-serve coffee. Never underestimate a good cup of joe.