Whether it's classic cakes, creative cookies, or petit gateaux, Miami native Max Santiago has baked them all.
Westchester-born and raised, the longtime South Florida pastry chef and baker has nearly three decades of experience crafting the sweeter things in life. In 2015, Santiago helped to cofound Miami’s first artisanal doughnut shop, the Salty Donut (now known as the Salty). When he left to begin consulting in 2017, the goal was to help others open their own pastry and doughnut shops.
Along the way, Santiago found further inspiration as a founding partner in several local businesses, including Fort Lauderdale-based Batch the Cookie Company, which opened its first location in 2019 and began franchising earlier this year.
“But the desire to open my own doughnut shop was still there, and I knew it would happen one day,” Santiago tells New Times
Now, after a 16-month buildout and several years hosting roving pop-ups, Santiago — who partnered with local businessman Roy Casiano and his brother, Enrique Santiago — returns to his entrepreneurial roots with the first location of Max'd Out Donuts in North Miami Beach.
The shop quietly opened at the Biscayne Commons shopping plaza in North Miami Beach this week. Currently in soft-open mode, Max'd Out Donuts will be open for limited hours while offering a shortened menu. A grand opening is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 7, and will feature a specialty doughnut and daylong giveaways and specials.
When Max'd Out officially opens next month, the shop will exclusively offer Santiago's rotating menu of made-from-scratch doughnuts alongside Miami-based Great Circle Coffee
roasted by local coffee aficionado Sergio Boppel.
For the next few weeks, Santiago says he will be offering six of his classic brioche doughnuts that feature an elevated take on the dough he began experimenting with when he first created the recipe for the Salty Donut.
Find Max'd Out Donuts' upscale take on the classic Boston cream at the newly opened North Miami Beach shop.
Max'd Out Donuts photo
"Back then, my goal was to create a fatty brioche dough that was full of flavor. But it was super dense, and took a long time to mix and cook," admits Santiago. "Over time, I wanted a light and airy doughnut, but one that still had that full flavor from the fat and eggs that go into making a brioche. For the past four years, I've been working on that recipe, and I can finally say that I’ve found the perfect balance. And my vegan brioche is just as good, if not better.”
The resulting 24-hour raised brioche dough is Santiago's signature touch, used to create a menu that focuses on a selection of classic and rotating flavors. Moving forward, the full menu of vegan, cake, and gluten-free options will be available, including a new rotating "Max'd Out" special that will be added to the menu each week, and will be available for four weeks.
Santiago also has a huge promise: a guaranteed 52 flavors that never duplicate throughout the entire year.
Not sure what to try first? Go for the top seller, his "O.G." glazed doughnut.
"The plain glazed is the most important — it's how you can tell a good doughnut from a bad one. There isn’t a whole lot going on to distract you. The dough is the star of the show,” says Santiago, who uses whole vanilla bean and buttermilk to bring his life.
The soft opening menu will also feature the "Homer," topped with homemade strawberry glaze and fancy sprinkles; a Boston cream filled with vanilla bean cream and dipped in a 46 percent Valrhona dark chocolate ganache topped with homemade chocolate curls; an apple fritter topped with brown butter glaze and finished with Maldon sea salt and caramelized apple slices; a chocolate glaze featuring a Valrhona chocolate ganache and milk chocolate curls; and a seasonal strawberry-blueberry sugar jelly doughnut stuffed with a locally made jam made with local produce from locally crafted Gables Delight
Moving forward, don’t miss the chef's other popular favorites when the full menu expands, like the "Cafe Con Leche," a cinnamon roll that’s deep fried with layers of espresso grounds and a glaze made with cafe con leche and topped with a cream cheese glaze. Or the "Key Lime Pie," an homage to Florida’s unofficial favorite dessert, a key lime custard-filled doughnut topped with torched meringue and a fresh key lime glaze.
“I want to be South Florida's favorite local doughnut shop. This all started in Miami, and I’m super proud to be able to do this in my city,” Santiago says.
Max'd Out Donuts
. 14871 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach; maxdoutdonuts.com. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily during the soft opening period. Starting January 7, open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.