Food News

Riding the Donut Wave

Gnarly Donut reopens for the season in Narragansett with cool new treats


Six words for you: ice cream sandwich made of donuts. If that sounds totally rad, you should probably hit up The Gnarly Donut this summer. The Narragansett donut shop opens for its second season on May 18, and the sugar will flow.

The shop is the brainchild of two South County realtors, Medelise Reifsteck and Steve Rei. “[Rei] called me one day and said, ‘What do you think about a donut shop?’” recalls Reifsteck with a chuckle. Neither Reifsteck nor Rei had worked as a professional baker, but the donut craze was sweeping the state, and it seemed like a sweet investment. The donuts are made elsewhere, but they are prepped and served in the bright cafe, a five-minute walk from the beach. Given Narragansett’s tourism cycle, the owners decided to keep a seasonal schedule; this summer, they’ll break out ice cream for the first time.

Gnarly takes its name from surfing culture, partly because of the shop’s proximity to epic breakers, and partly because Reifsteck herself has been an avid surfer for 15 years. She invited a California-based artist, Joe Vickers, to create the logo of a bikini-clad surfer gliding through a giant donut with a cup of coffee in hand.

“We do have a bunch of surfers come in,” says Reifsteck. “But when the season is up and going, it’s families, teenagers, folks who are looking for a treat on a Sunday morning. It’s a real mix.” Narragansett