Fast-growing donut and corndog shop Mochinut finds its spot in Richmond

Mochinut says its donuts are a mix of Japanese rice cakes and American doughnuts, but the style originated in Hawaii. (Courtesy Mochinut)

As it aims for dozens of new locations in its first year in business, a Hawaiian-style donut chain is setting up its first local spot in a VCU-area restaurant space that’s no stranger to new concepts.

Mochinut is preparing to open on the ground floor of the Chesterfield Apartment Building at 900 W. Franklin St.

The commercial space has seen plenty of churn in recent years, with Plant Baz Burrito Bar being the most recent tenant. (Mike Platania)

The year-old company offers donuts made with rice flour that are then adorned with glazes and other toppings. Mochinut also offers corn dogs dipped in rice flour and boba tea.

“It started in Hawaii and California,” said local franchisee Brian Yoo. “In Northern Virginia it’s also popular right now. I was thinking for the college students, it’s going to be a great idea.”

The donuts and corndogs both start around $3. Yoo said he’s hoping to have the VCU Mochinut be both a to-go and sit-down spot.

“We have tons of seating so people can come, study and use wifi,” he said.

Yoo said he’s invested about $200,000 into renovating the space, which has housed over a half-dozen restaurants since 2013.

Mochinut already has begun to set up in the space on Franklin.

Plant Baz Burrito Bar was the most recent tenant of the space, closing in 2020 after a year-long run. Prior to that Cous Cous, Sofra Mediterranean Grill, Bb.q Premium Chicken, Shoryuken Ramen and Dash Kitchen + Carry have all occupied the space.

Yoo said he’s aiming to open Mochinut in late October or early November. He said he’s considering opening multiple stores in Richmond and would also like to get into Virginia Beach.

Despite being only a year in business, Mochinut is on an aggressive growth strategy. The company has 20 locations open, most of which are in Southern California, and is planning over 90 new locations around the country, as well as in South Korea and Thailand.

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Ed Christina
Ed Christina
20 days ago

Which place is the bigger death trap for restaurants: this spot of the corner location in Willow Lawn that keeps trying to have sports bars.

Restaurant folks: Are you bothered by seeing place after place fail in a location?

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
19 days ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Ed I just don’t get it either. Between times the space sat vacant or being redone for the next party this space averages what 10-12 months per establishment (maybe open 9 months). 6 places in 7 years. And I think the donut craze has passed already.

Last edited 19 days ago by Michael Dodson
Ed Christina
Ed Christina
19 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

 1601 Willow Lawn Dr, had Legends Grill.

And about 4 other sports bars in as many years.

Jerel Wilmore
Jerel Wilmore
19 days ago

If I had the money I’d put a chain Chinese restaurant in that space and get on VCU’s meal plan.

Dennis Cullender
Dennis Cullender
19 days ago
Reply to  Jerel Wilmore

That is a great idea. I’ve been in or around the restaurant business for more years than I care to say. Concept and execution (service and product) are the key. A quality lower priced concept, such as your Chinese idea, would do very well in the student zone.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
19 days ago
Reply to  Jerel Wilmore

 900 W Grace St panda Express is right around the corner. might be too close?

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
18 days ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

And that Panda Express is in a VCU owned (or their Real Estate Foundation) building, part of the campus food services unit, and accepts RAM bucks too. PS Steak and Shake is coming to campus too.

https://vcu.campusdish.com/LocationsAndMenus/PandaExpress

Ian Davenport
Ian Davenport
19 days ago

The rent there has to be sky high, it doesn’t strike me as a great location for what sounds like a trendy spot. Then again, I absolutely loved Cous Cous and Shoryuken, so what do I know?