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 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.
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.