Now RI has a `big blue doughnut'

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Paint it blue, give it a name that’s easy to remember, bake something nobody else has and if the first week is any indication, a location that couldn’t make it whether they sold tacos, coffee, take out home style cooking or egg rolls this is going to be a hit.

Ed Brady said he thought the Airport Road location of 4 Corners Coffee would be good, but he never imagined the response he received on opening. When the store sold 1,500 doughnuts the first day, Brady, who is partners with Jeff Quinlan and Justin Erickson, increased production to 2,500 on Tuesday. On Wednesday he upped it another 500 and he did the same on Thursday to 3,500.

But then, these are not your typical doughnuts. They’re flavors like no other.

So far, says chef Andrea Leonardo, the maple bacon is the best seller. On Thursday she introduced the maple pecan, which also disappeared quickly from the racks.

But there’s more than variety that make 4 Corners doughnuts different. They are square.

Brady said the concept for a unique doughnut that has the capability of establishing a brand came up over discussions with Quinlan. The phrases “square meal and square deal” came up and from there Quinlan had it. To actually bake a square doughnut took some custom-made equipment, but it is proving to be worth it.

Thursday midmorning found eight people standing in line with Brady at the door welcoming customers. He hopes to have a drive-thru window operational shortly.

“This is not Dunkin’, it’s not Brewed [Brewed Awakenings], it’s all-unique in its own way,” said Brady.

Brady and her partners have a knack for establishments that don’t fit the mold. They have opened seven restaurants and lounges in the last five years. Vanity in Providence was the first that is now Milk Money. There are two Thirsty Beaver lounges, one in Cranston and another in Smithfield, Say Cheese a build-your-own grilled cheese eatery on Weybosset Street, Pink Pigs in Jamestown and Warren and McBlarney’s County Tap in Warren.

“They’re pub and grub,” general manager Steve Brady, Ed’s brother, said. Steve is looking forward to introducing a variety of coffees at 4 Corners. He said 4 Corners uses a blend made especially for them but is thinking of enabling customers to “explore” African and Indian coffees among others.

“What we want is for everyone to have a pleasurable experience here,” he said.

4 Corners Coffee is more than a doughnut and coffee shop. Apart from a wide selection of coffees and other drinks 4 Corners serves all-day breakfast and will have salads and lunches.

Overall, Brady said the company employs about 100. Twenty-five work at 4 Corners and Brady is looking to hire more.

There’s seating for about 30. Ed Brady cautions it’s not designed to be a fast food eatery where you get your breakfast egg sandwich in less than two minutes. Rather, he said, orders are made on demand so customers should be prepared to wait a little bit longer.

Word traveled quickly and within the first four days, Ed Brady said customers had driven from Newport and Providence to go “square.” He said he even had one customer say she had learned of 4 Corners after flying into Green Airport and stopped in.

Brady feels 4 Corners fits well with the passion Rhode Islanders have for local businesses.

“We’re across from Dave’s,” he said of a homegrown business that has its following.

Doughnuts sell for $2.50. A baker’s dozen - 13 doughnuts – sell for $26.

“It’s quite the deal,” said Leonardo.

“This is the big blue doughnut,” she says of the building.

Might they also have a blue doughnut?

Leonardo thinks. “There’s one with blue sprinkles.” But, who knows, there could be an all blue doughnut one day.

The 4 Corners Coffee is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

THE SQUARE AT THE SQUARE: The 4 Corners Coffee, the bright blue café near Hoxsie Four Corners opened last week to an outpouring of customers anxious to sample their specialty doughnuts that are also square. (Warwick Beacon photos)

A NEW BRAND: Ed Brady, who with partners Jeff Quinlan and Justin Erickson have opened seven establishments in the last five years, said the 4 Corners is another example of local entrepreneurs. A SQUARE DEAL: 4 Corners Chef Andrea Leonardo with a full rack of artisan doughnuts. Based on the first week of operation, the maple bacon doughnut is the favorite. MORE THAN COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS: The 4 Corners provides seating and offers breakfast menu all day. Salads and lunch fare is also planned.

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