In the Kitchen

4corners Coffee Has a New Take on Donuts

This Warwick shop is winning over locals and visitors alike with square pastries, hearty breakfasts and inventive flavors

Posted

Our small state has certainly kept caffeinated with a boom of artisanal coffee and donut shops, but 4corners Coffee brings a new (right) angle to the table. Paying homage to Hoxsie Four Corners, the well-known Warwick neighborhood it’s nestled in, the coffee shop has become popular for a new trend-worthy staple: square donuts. We sat down with head chef Andrea Leonardo to talk about those sweet treats, popular menu items and more.

Let’s start at the beginning. How’d you get into the culinary world and baking?

A lot of people in my family – my grandfather, uncle and father – are bakers. My dad got out of the business, but my uncle opened up a bakery called Baker Street Bakery in Rochester, New York, and my grandfather was helping him part-time. When I needed a summer job, I got thrown into it because we’re family, so why not help them out? When my grandfather’s doctor made him retire, my uncle needed more help, so I learned European pastries and how to make bread.

When I was looking into colleges, my friend gave me an application to Johnson & Wales. I was accepted and studied the savory side of food since I had already learned the sweet side.

What other local kitchens have you worked in?

I was with the Marra Restaurant Group for a while and worked up to become their corporate executive chef. Ed Brady, one of the owners of this company (Justin Erickson and Jeffrey Quinlan are also co-owners), was a promoter for Marra at the time. When Ed was looking for an executive chef, I was looking for a job, so I jumped in and helped them open multiple restaurants. Our company owns The Thirsty Beaver, Milk Money, 4corners Coffee, McBlarney’s, Say Cheese and Pink Pig BBQ.

4corners is known for its square donuts. How does that work?

I found a company in the town I grew up in that makes customized cutters and anything metal-related, so they fabricated two special square cutters for me.

What are some of the most popular flavors?

As in any craft bakery, I think, maple bacon is the number one seller. Following that, the classics are always good. People love our s’mores and ice cream sundae flavors. We recently did a take on a blueberry muffin old fashioned, and that did really well, too.

We always keep a few standards on the menu, like a simple glazed donut, but we do rotate the donut menu every Monday. It’s based on what’s going on around the area; sometimes it’s whatever we feel like. In July, we focused on different holidays. We featured a Mountain Dew flavor for National Geek Day, which had Sour Patch Kids on it. We also did Christmas in July, bringing back a lot of classic winter flavors.

You also offer a full breakfast menu. What can customers look forward to on the food menu?

We have breakfast sandwiches everyday and make all of our own English muffins (our most popular bread option) and biscuits. We use local eggs and cheeses. Our square breakfast comes with two eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and our home fried wedge potatoes, another popular item.

The drive-thru opened this summer. Tell us about that.

Our drive-thru opens every day at 5am. We have a steady crowd that visits us on their way to work, and the drive-thru is, of course, busier on weekends and during mid-afternoon. Drive-thru customers don’t need to worry about missing the weekly donut menu: we left a blank spot on our menu board and write them in every day.

What can we expect in the near future from 4corners?

We’re going to start doing some pop-up events with other local businesses around the state. If you’re not in the Warwick area, you’ll be able to check us out at different locations. It’s still in the works, but we’ll be posting all of those on our Instagram page.

4corners Coffee
63 Airport Road, Warwick
921-6464