On October 8, Grounds Donut House in Throggs Neck celebrated his grand grand opening with white, pink and black balloons, as adults and children thronged the streets and DJ Dom Tufaro spun dance classics from the 70s and 80s. On the side of the entrance Two young adults were standing – one with a donut in his hand and the other recording it with his phone. As he lifted the multicolored crispy rice cereal donut to his lips, he quoted David Portnoy, famous YouTube pizza reviewer and founder of Barstool Sports: “Okay. One bite, everyone knows the rules,” and began sinking their teeth into the sweet treat.
The donut shop is small and filled with cheekiness and ambiance. The shop’s right wall is covered in artificial green foliage with an all-caps neon pink sign that reads, “I LICKED IT, SO IT’S MINE.” On the other side, visitors receive luminous markers and are asked to leave their tag on the “signature wall”. The sayings read “Good luck”, “Doughnuts make the world go round”, and “The best of the best”.
Then of course – there are the donuts.
The flavors are unique and over the top. The cannoli beignet is filled with mascarpone cheese, covered with icing, chocolate chips and a small cannolo. The Maple Bacon Donut is glazed and sprinkled with real bacon bits and the Nutella Bomb features a hazelnut chocolate spread. The donuts are rich and sweet to perfection.
The shop offers around 14 to 15 different flavors, eight to 10 of which are featured daily and rotate on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. They also offer seasonal specials, like their Pumpkin Cheesecake Donut which currently sells out “almost every day”, according to one of the workers behind the counter. Grounds also sells its own proprietary blend of coffee.
Located at 4039 E. Tremont Ave., Grounds Donut House stands where the beloved Miles Coffee Bar once stood. Miles was a neighborhood staple, but the business struggled with the dawn of the pandemic, which coincided with the tragic loss of owner, Mario D’Agostino, who died of colon cancer in June 2020. After D’Agostino passed away, his wife worked to keep the business afloat until financial difficulties forced it to close the doors earlier this year.
“The Miles Coffee bar was here, I knew the owner and we wanted to keep it alive,” says Danny Hill, a partner and co-owner of the donut shopand native Throggs Neck.
The team of partners involved in Grounds Donut House, which opened its first location in Danbury, Connecticut, in 2020, are a group of friends: Danny Hill, Jimmy Lyons, Nick Terrana, and Mauro Tropeano—Hill and Tropeano being Bronx natives.
“[Mario] brought something super interesting to the neighborhood, it stemmed from a love for this neighborhood, and I was like, you know, ‘Can we carry this torch?’ said Tropeano.
And carry the torch they made.
Grounds Donut House hopes to stay in tune with the sense of community that Miles Coffee Bar has established. “We’re not blind,” Tropeano says of the company’s intention to be community-driven while building on the sweet brand.
The Throggs Neck community successfully requested that D’Agostino’s memory be memorialized in a street dedication and in June 2022 their request was granted. The corner of Miles Avenue and East Tremont Avenue now reads: Mario D’Agostino way.
Contact ET Rodriguez at [email protected]. For more coverage follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes