Miami doughnut shop looks to Ballantyne and Plaza Midwood for next Charlotte sites

A year after making its North Carolina debut in Charlotte, The Salty is expanding right in doughnut giant Krispy Kreme’s back yard.

The Miami-based artisanal doughnut shop will open in late fall in Ballantyne, followed a few months later by another store in Plaza Midwood.

The Salty joins other retailers opening at The Bowl at Ballantyne, including Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, expected to open next month, as well as several other restaurants opening this summer.

Just last week, Rochester, N.Y.-based grocery chain Wegmans said it will open its first Charlotte store in 2026 on the east side of Ballantyne as part of Northwood Investors’ Reimagine Ballantyne development project.

The Salty also has plans for a third store in Charlotte in Plaza Midwood, according to the company’s website.

The Salty opened its first doughnut shop in Charlotte last year at 1515 S. Tryon St. in South End, about a half-mile from Krispy Kreme’s global product and innovation center. Krispy Kreme moved its headquarters from Winston-Salem to Charlotte in 2019.

Andy Rodriguez, co-owner of The Salty with wife Amanda Pizarro-Rodriguez, doesn’t see Krispy Kreme as competition.

“Krispy is the nostalgic, OG doughnut shop, whereas Salty is more of an artisan cafe and bakery vibe,” Rodriguez told The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday. “It’s a totally different type of experience.”

The Salty Donut is opening a second store in Charlotte in the fall in Ballantyne.
The Salty Donut is opening a second store in Charlotte in the fall in Ballantyne.

What to expect at The Salty in Ballantyne

The family-owned doughnut chain — named one of the 31 “best donut shops in America” by Thrilled in 2018 — uses homemade and locally sourced ingredients.

Expect signature doughnuts like traditional glazed, a 24-hour brioche with vanilla bean glaze and brown butter and salt, vanilla bean cake doughnut.

The Salty offers seasonal doughnuts and store-specific flavors, according to the company.

”We always try to have something unique at each of our stores even if they’re in the same market,” Rodriguez said. Expect more savory menu additions by the time the Ballantyne stores opens, too.

Salty’s menu includes baked goods including brisket-stuffed kolaches, homemade Pop Tarts, cookies and breakfast pastries, plus The Salty’s blend of coffee.

The nearly 2,000-square-foot space will include indoor and outdoor seating. “We’re all about community and being a place to hang out, start a run or grab a coffee and a doughnut,” Rodriguez said.

Each store hires 15 to 20 full- and part-time employees.

About The Salty plans

The Salty started as a pop-up shop in 2015 peddling doughnuts from a 1950s Aljoa camper in a Miami parking lot.

The Salty now has 15 Salty stores and more planned in Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Colorado.

Rodriguez said they’re also looking to expand in the Raleigh area and South Carolina, and haven’t ruled out more stores in the Charlotte market.

”We just don’t know yet. I’m sure there’s more to do,” he said. “But we’re a destination, not meant to be on every street corner.”