Meet Elliot Spaisman.
Elliot and his fellow co-owner, Jeff Halpern, are the pair behind Astro Doughnuts, the new Metro Center eatery that has become popular for its gourmet doughnuts and fried chicken – both of which sell out daily. Elliot and Jeff are native Washingtonians, and they focused on the busy red line metro stop because of the heavy foot traffic. FamousDC had the opportunity to chat with Elliot to learn more about Astro’s tasty creations and why the Washington Post has it ranked at the top of its doughnut competition.
1. How did you and your co-owner, Jeff, come up with the idea to start Astro?
Jeff and I grew up playing hockey together in Montgomery County, Maryland. We always loved eating doughnuts after games, particularly those from Montgomery Doughnuts. Astro is a childhood dream realized for us.
2. Can you share some details on your chef? Does he come up with your unique flavors of doughnuts?
Our chef, Chef Jason Gehring, was the pastry chef at Fiola before joining us. He’s so talented and one of the reasons why we are currently in the lead in the Washington Post’s Doughnut Wars. The Creme Brulee and Peanut Butter & Jelly are the top flavors. We have a standard daily menu with rotating specials. Jason’s creativity keeps things exciting with new doughnut varieties and fried chicken flavors.
3. You also sell fried chicken. We hear you will be offering other savory items?
Yes, we have a buttermilk fried chicken that was inspired by Jason’s grandmother’s recipe. He also does a variety of different glazes like Sriracha, spicy garlic and jerk seasoning. We occasionally offer a fried chicken BLT on a savory cheddar chive doughnut. Sides are also popular, and we do a potato salad, Asian slaw and some seasonal varieties like a feta and heirloom tomato salad.
4. You just opened in April. Have you had to make any tweaks to keep up with demand?
Some flavors have been flying off the shelves faster than expected, including creme brulee, maple bacon and peanut butter and jelly. So, yes, we’ve increased daily production of those three flavors.
5. You and your co-owner are native Washingtonians. Do you have any favorite eats in the DC area that you both frequent?
Some of my favorite spots include Cashion’s, Johnny’s Half Shell, Pho 75 and Shanghai Village.