FoCoDoCo reinvents the doughnut game with local and fresh ingredients

Lauryn Bolz

Fort Collins’ first local, farm-fresh, fry-to-order doughnut shop is open for business, and it is every bit as delicious as it sounds.

The ‘doughnut robot’ watches over FoCoDoCo’s patio. Since opening at The Exchange in July, the doughnut shop has become a popular hang-out. (Collegian | Lauryn Bolz)

FoCoDoCo, which opened at The Exchange in early July, is the brainchild of long-time chef Megan Barghols, who has a passion for doughnuts and farm-fresh food.  

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“I lived in Portland for 10 years where doughnuts and coffee are a big deal,” Barghols said. “My sister has lived here for 12 years. I love Fort Collins, and for 12 years it’s driven me crazy that there is no local doughnut shop.”

With some help from her family, Barghols opened the Fort Collins Donut Company, known for its catchy abbreviation. With its unique fry-to-order method and freshly harvested ingredients, what was created was far from the average doughnut shop. The menu has only five constant flavors, with a changing seasonal menu and a secret menu that can only be found through updates on the shop’s Instagram.

We’re really inspired by what we can get here. We make our menu off of what we can get in Fort Collins. I don’t come up with a flavor and then try to find it, I find things and then we develop a menu.” -Megan Barghols, chef

The doughnuts themselves are quite different than one would expect. The bite-sized doughnuts are all made from the same dough, which is seasoned with spices and sea salt. Then the dough is loaded into the ‘doughnut robot’ and fried in organic Colorado sunflower seed oil, which gives the finished doughnuts a crisp finish that isn’t gooey or greasy. That’s when the fun part begins: toppings.

“We’re really inspired by what we can get here. We make our menu off of what we can get in Fort Collins,” Barghols said. “I don’t come up with a flavor and then try to find it, I find things and then we develop a menu.” 

Employee Kate Fleming puts the finishing touches on a couple berry basil brûlée doughnuts. The small space can sometimes be a challenge for storage, but the employees make it work. (Collegian | Lauryn Bolz)

The result is anything from salted honey, which uses real Colorado wildflower honey, to the recently released ‘figgy smalls,’ which is made from figs and ground cherries that are made into a sweet, fruity glaze.

“I just want to be able to try new things,” Barghols said. “We’re playing with the idea of a doughnut in general.”

Barghols has many reasons for using fresh ingredients, and it’s not just because they make for better doughnuts. When she was 26, Barghols contracted colon cancer. After going through genetic testings, it was clear what the cause of her illness was.

“I grew up in the midwest eating processed food and terrible factory-farm meat,” Barghols said. “(The colon cancer) was caused by my environment, a combination of growing up in the midwest and eating garbage.”

Stephen Belden takes his order through the patio window. Belden said he came all the way from Wyoming just to try out Fort Collins’ first local doughnut shop. (Collegian | Lauryn Bolz)

After being a chef for many years, Barghols has now brought farm-to-table methods to the dessert industry. From peaches in the summer to pumpkins when fall comes around, there will always be fresh, delicious new flavors to try. Not only do they taste good, but it also warms the heart (and tummy) knowing that by buying at FoCoDoCo, one is also supporting local Fort Collins farms and other family-owned companies around town like Swallowtail Foods and Nuance Chocolate.

Nestled in a shipping container style building on North College Avenue, one thing Barghols encourages for first-time customers is to be open to trying new things.

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“Sometimes people are mad that we don’t have sprinkles, and then they try a lemon poppy and they like it,” Barghols said.

With the ever-changing seasonal flavors, there’s one constant at FoCoDoCo; Everyone leaves happy.

Lauryn Bolz can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @laurynbolz.