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What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Rise creates stir in Durham

Posted January 8, 2013

Chef Tom Ferguson is making the doughnuts. But they aren't your typical sweet confections. These yeast and cake creations take decadence to a new level with flavors like Maple Bacon and Pineapple Glazed with basil cream. 

Rise has been taking the Triangle by storm since opening late last year. Customers have been pouring in to get their made from scratch doughnuts and biscuits each day.  

Ferguson, owner of the Durham Catering Company and a former co-owner of the Only Burger food truck, has been making biscuits since his days as a chef with the Airport Marriott.

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The idea to go into doughnuts came after a trip to Portland. After visiting Pine State Biscuits for inspiration for a biscuit shop, he stopped on a whim at Voodoo Doughnuts. The Portland staple offers unique flavors like The Loop (topped with Fruit Loops) and the Arnold Palmer (a plain cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and topped with a dust of lemonade/ice tea). 

"The second I stepped into Voodoo Doughnuts, I said, 'We are doing biscuits and donuts,'" Ferguson said. 

Before opening Rise in late November, Ferguson set out on a doughnut and biscuit tour across the country to taste as many different flavors as he could. He also visited shops to find out what type of format he wanted to use at the counter. He settled on the deli-counter style using a number system.

Diners come in to try Ferguson's freshly made biscuits topped with items like collard greens, cauliflower and apple braised pork, while others opt for the doughnuts - like the Cocoa Puff or traditional glazed. 

Out and About stopped by Rise on Friday to see the glazed doughnuts take shape and taste a few of their signature items. See our image gallery to view how they make the doughnuts. We liked the regular chocolate covered doughnuts but were also hooked on the variations of the classic theme. 

We were amazed at how light and fluffy the creme fillings were. 

Some of our favorite flavors: Peanut Butter Cup, with Big Spoon Peanut Butter creme and topped with Videri chocolate icing, and Pineapple Glazed with basil creme and pistachios. Ferguson said he got the idea for the pineapple donut after visiting the North Carolina Culinary School's temporary restaurant at American Tobacco Campus. The basil infused ice cream grabbed his attention.

Ferguson said he tries to use local ingredients as much as possible, hence the Big Spoon Peanut Butter (Durham) and Videri chocolate (Raleigh).

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He is also interested in providing cuisine for everyone. This week he unveiled some Gluten-free doughnuts and in the future will be serving vegan donuts. 

"I want to this to be the spot for biscuits and doughnuts," he said. 

He is well on his way. 

And if you have a problem with your order, Ferguson is open to feedback. He has routinely responded to questions or concerns through Rise's Facebook and Twitter accounts. From a chewy chicken-fried steak to a criticism that their doughnuts were a little too sweet, Ferguson said they are listening and want to make Rise the best it can be. 

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