Paris is beginning to flinch at the first pinches of winter, but Amanda Bankert-Scott has the perfect antidote to frosty mornings: coffee and doughnuts. This morning, she’s lining the bakery case at Boneshaker Doughnuts with buoyant rings of cold-weather-inspired flavors like hot chocolate (complete with tiny marshmallows), cinnamon sugar, spiced apple, salted caramel, and vanilla. I can’t imagine eating a doughnut without a cup of coffee, so I understood why Bankert-Scott’s vision of a doughnut shop included an endless carafe of filter coffee on the counter. “I’ve always had a connection to coffee,” she says, as she tells me how she brought her classically American version of the pairing to Paris.
Before opening Boneshaker (named after the first pedal-powered bicycle), the 2004 Le Cordon Bleu pastry graduate spent eight years in Ireland, crafting sweets for Michelin-starred restaurants, but also a few specialty coffee shops. After the birth of her first son, juggling the high-stress environment of fine dining with the new responsibilities of being a mother proved problematic. But instead of sacrificing the joys of either, she shifted her energy toward coffee shops. “I fell into doing food for them because they were wanting pastry at a certain level—there was still that commitment to quality,” she says. “But I had the added benefit of daytime hours and a much more relaxed working environment.”
The combination would end up working well in Paris, too, where Bankert-Scott and her husband, Louis, also a veteran of the hospitality industry, returned in 2012. The couple had a lightbulb moment on a trip home to the States in 2013. “We were eating doughnuts and we were like, ‘Oh, I wish we could get these back in Paris. Why don’t we open a donut shop?’”
From the beginning, Boneshaker was linked to the specialty coffee scene, explains Bankert-Scott, listing off Paris cafes that have included her opulent creations in their bakery boxes: Honor, Café Loustic, Fondation Cafe, Le Peloton Café, and La Chouette. Boneshaker made its debut appearance at pop-up O Coffeeshop before landing a sixth-month “residency” at The Beans on Fire, and finally finding a permanent brick-and-mortar home in the 2nd arrondissement last summer.
“For us, there always has been that quintessential combination of coffee and doughnuts, and when we were envisioning our shop it was really important for us not only to do coffee but to specialize in filter coffee,” she says, explaining why the only coffee you’ll find in the pocket-size shop is fresh-brewed filter from Belleville Brûlerie pumped out of a Marco urn. “Often people will come in and ask for a crème, and when we say we only have filter, they’re like, ‘OK, that’s great.’ They’re going for it, so that’s cool.”