This week, I learned how to say “delicious” in Greek. Well, maybe not… but I certainly discovered something delicious that IS Greek – Loukoumades!
If you’re one of our Canadian friends, this is probably not a novel discovery by now, but those of us in the U.S.A. are only now getting a taste of what you already love. Note to my fellow Americans – earlier this year, Uber Eats revealed that Loukoumades had surpassed the local staple – poutine – as Quebec’s most-ordered comfort food, and those tasty little morsels of obsession came from Mr Puffs.
Founded in Canada in 2004 by Billy Siounis, Mr. Puffs quickly took our neighbors to the north by storm. Now, with more than 20 locations in Canada, Mr Puffs is one of the few businesses forging new paths amidst this year’s COVID crisis by opening their very first location in the United States – and it’s right here in Orlando!
We haven’t been making many visits since the world first started shutting down back in the springtime. To be honest, I’m still trying to adjust to functioning with all of the new standards and mandates. Going anywhere has been a bit intimidating lately, but paying a visit to Mr Puffs was a treat, in more ways than one!
Mr Puffs Orlando is located on the exterior of The Florida Mall, just outside of the food court entrance. Though not entirely a stand-alone building, it has its own entrance and dining room, making a quick grab-and-go as easy as a sit-and-chill. As far as COVID standards go – they have it down. Although this place is hopping after just three short weeks in business, designated floor markers make distancing easy to maintain, and hand sanitizer stations are located right inside the entrance. The entire crew is masked up, so if you’re a stickler for the rules – you’ll find zero fault here.
But – what about the good stuff? I mean, you probably still don’t know what the heck Loukoumades even are just yet, do you? Please allow me to shed some light on your next favorite treat!
Loukoumades (or “Puffs”) are similar to donut holes – but better and a bit better for you, too! This traditional Greek dessert is essentially fried balls of dough – with half the calories, half the sugar, and ten times the YUM of standard donut holes. Best served fresh and hot, they have a light, airy center with just the perfect crisp to the outer shell – bliss!
Nearly 3000 years ago, these tantalizing treats were served to Olympians as “honey tokens” coated in honey and cinnamon, but Mr Puffs has gone next-level with their offerings. Beyond the honey cinnamon standard, you can also choose from caramel, cinnamon sugar, maple, hazelnut, chocolate, and berry glazes. Best of all, while not entirely guilt-free, Puffs are all-natural, lactose-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free, and vegan with NO trans-fat. There’s literally NO ONE who can’t LOVE these little nibbles of yumminess!
If, for some reason you’re not in the mood for an order of Puffs, you can also select from assorted specialty (hot and iced) coffees, milkshakes, ice cream cones, and more! Of course, you can just go the easy route with the hardy Mt Olympus – which combines ice cream (topped your way) with a round of made-to-order Puffs. We had the honor of meeting founder Billy Siounis during our visit, and he was absolutely on-target when he told me that the hot-cold combination of this colossal treat was the best! My favorite, hands-down!
Beyond the unquestionable quality and originality of Mr Puffs’ entire presentation, I have to dish out significant praise to the crew. That was a very busy, and very “open” kitchen, and they really nailed their process flawlessly. Most impressively, you couldn’t help but notice that no one seemed flustered or even sluggish in their consistent delivery of impeccable product with a very ready smile.
Even with a very steady flow of customers, they managed to provide us with a behind-the-counter tour of their process as well as a very generous sampling of their menu. Beyond their traditional Puffs varieties and milkshakes, we were treated to the new Cotton Candy dipped cone and even a Puffs flavor off the “secret” menu – birthday cake. There’s not a thing I wouldn’t recommend.
Although I’m not quite comfortable revealing everything I learned about the coming growth of Mr Puffs, I can certainly share this advice… get familiar! There does seem to be a very solid plan for Mr Puffs to expand their presence – in Orlando, in Florida, and throughout the United States. If the locals out there remember when Wawas first appeared and then suddenly seemed to be everywhere… well, I can imagine Mr Puffs could eventually go the same path. After all, they’ve managed exceptional growth in a relatively short time, and certainly in the face of adversity and challenge. This one could be a juggernaut.