1 October, 2022, 11:01

Hub & Playground Creator To Open Whiskey & Doughnut Joint in Unplugged Space

Downtown Tucson will get its first doughnut shop in January when Batch Cafe & Bar, aka, Batch Whiskey & Doughnuts, opens January 1 in the space that currently houses Unplugged Wine Bar at 118 East Congress.

Batch is the latest concept from Kade Mislinski and partner Ronnie Spece. Mislinski has been involved in the restaurant industry for over a decade, having managed Fox Restaurants’ former Bistro Zin, and as the primary conceptualist behind Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery and Playground. Currently he’s co-owner of Monkey Burger and sole owner of Saguaro Corners. Spece and Mislinski have been friends for years.

“We’re going to focus on Arizona and small batch craft as much as we can,” says Spece. “That’s the concept – batch. It can mean a batch of doughnuts or a batch of whiskey.”

Batch partners Kade Mislinski and Ronnie Spece (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Batch partners Kade Mislinski and Ronnie Spece (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

While Batch will serve whiskey and bourbon both as classic cocktails and straight up, don’t expect another craft cocktail bar.

“No fancy mixers. Just whiskey and bourbon – Japanese, Irish, Scotch, for example,” said Spece. “Of course, it’s not for everybody. But, that’s okay. It’s a small space.”

“For me,” said Mislinski, “it (Unplugged) reminded me of Bistro Zin, the ambience, the wine selection. This is about the partnership, it’s about downtown. And, Ronnie always wanted to do a small bourbon bar.”

As for doughnuts, think Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut meets New York City’s Doughnut Plant with square, filled, and holed doughnuts.

“It’s kind of like what we did with ice cream,” said Mislinski, rattling off doughnut names Batch will offer, such as Maple Bacon Vanilla Bourbon Cream, Pink Blueberry topped with Fruity Pebbles, and a Creme Brulee doughnut that will actually be torched on top.

Of course, nothing is as well associated with doughnuts as is coffee. In keeping with the ‘no craft cocktail’ theme, Batch won’t offer espresso drinks and will instead focus on good, strong, drip coffee from Presta. Think “fast casual coffee and doughnut bar.”

Doughnuts will be delivered fresh daily from Saguaro Corners, which will serve as Batch’s commissary, while some finishing will happen at Batch, such as icing. In addition, Batch will offer small plates, such as grilled cheese, cheese boards, and bruschetta.

As for Unplugged, owner Frank Lietzau was ready for a change.

Unplugged owner and Batch owner discuss final details (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Unplugged owner and Batch owner discuss final details (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

“I knew what I was doing was not enough to utilize the space,” said Lietzau, who still owns and operates Wine Depot and Pottery Blow Out. “I’m just a wine and beer guy and I thought, maybe we need to look for someone else to do this.”

The transition from Unplugged to Batch will happen quite rapidly with Unplugged closing up after their New Years Eve event and Spece and Mislinski opening up as Batch on New Years Day. Doughnuts won’t be available daily until January 4, but will be offered during the New Years Day event.

Batch will start things off with an opening party on New Years Day with live music and “Free doughnuts 4pm til they’re gone” according to the Facebook event.

Batch’s regular hours will be Sunday through Wednesday from 7am until 10pm and Thursday through Saturday from 8am until 2am.

For more information, visit Batch on Facebook.

Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.