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New Fort Mill shop serving up pastries, smiles and more

Sweet Dough making the donuts and more in Fort Mill

Friends Carlton Arrington and Mendoza opened Sweet Dough at 400 N. Doby’s Bridge Road in Fort Mill. Step insideand you’ll immediately smell the sweetness of sugary, delicious cake and yeast donuts.
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Friends Carlton Arrington and Mendoza opened Sweet Dough at 400 N. Doby’s Bridge Road in Fort Mill. Step insideand you’ll immediately smell the sweetness of sugary, delicious cake and yeast donuts.

If sprinkles really do make everything better, then Leddie Mendoza is living her best life.

Friends Carlton Arrington and Mendoza opened Sweet Dough, 400 N. Doby’s Bridge Road, Fort Mill, in November. Step inside the cafe and you’ll immediately smell the sweetness of sugary, delicious cake and yeast donuts.

The display case is a feast for the eyes, containing colorful confections topped with glaze, cereal, bacon and of course, a rainbow of sprinkles. Choices include jelly-filled or cream-filled donuts and made-to-order varieties topped with your choice of glaze or dipped in a variety of icings.

Want something sweet but not in the mood for a donut? Try the apple fritters, made fresh daily and which Mendoza describes as “crispy, gooey and delicious.”

Sink your teeth into an oversized cinnamon roll, glazed and topped with vanilla frosting. Or go for one of Mendoza’s specialty creations, such as the Strawberries-N-Cream (Arrington’s favorite), a buttery, fresh-made croissant stuffed with whipped cream and strawberries or the banana peanut butter long john, an eclair-style pastry filled with whipped cream, Bavarian cream and bananas and topped with chocolate, a drizzle of peanut butter and banana chip crumbles.

Complementing the scent of donuts is the aroma of fresh Fair Trade coffee. Mendoza and Arrington sipped 50 different varieties from a distributor in Charlotte before deciding on a smooth, organic medium roast and a dark, robust 100 percent Arabica coffee to serve alongside the shop’s sweet treats.

“We did a lot of research on coffee,” Arrington said. “We have a Sweet Dough blend made especially for our location.”

If you arrive at Sweet Dough before 10:30 a.m. each day, you’ll find other breakfast favorites like biscuit sandwiches, biscuits and gravy or the egg burrito supreme stuffed with roasted potatoes, sour cream, sausage or bacon, cheese and sausage gravy being served up.

“The donuts speak for themselves but a nice, hearty breakfast is also available,” Mendoza said.

On the walls are phrases like, “Life begins after coffee” and “Abs are great but have you tried donuts?” Words to live by, if you ask Mendoza.

“I’ve always enjoyed the entire process of baking,” she said, having worked in a bakery for a decade before taking a job in corporate America.

A California native, Mendoza was accustomed to a donut shop on every corner and going out for a donut breakfast on Sunday mornings. When she moved to Fort Mill, she found the donut scene lacking. Fort Mill residents obviously did too, judging from their warm reception of Sweet Dough.

“This is my passion,” Mendoza said. “Seeing the kids’ faces light up. People saying, ‘Thank goodness there’s a donut shop in Fort Mill.’ Fort Mill loves donuts. We have local followers, we have a mom and daughter who come in for a donut and milk before school. Everyone’s been so warm and inviting and it’s been amazing.”

Arrington and Mendoza worked together at Mood Media (formerly Muzak) in Fort Mill and later in the banking industry in Charlotte.

“(Sweet Dough) is a new avenue for us, an unknown,” Arrington said. It’s fun and we’ve been so well-received. This side of town was under-served and we really want people to know what we’re here to give back and serve them.”

Sweet Dough is open every day from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., with breakfast served until 10:30 a.m. View the menu at sweetdoughfortmill.com or call 803-548-0440.

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