Erin Brereton

Churro Mania

Churros are having a moment: Menu mentions of the snack increased 10 percent in two years, according to a 2016 report from Technomic. Traditional and unconventional versions are popping up at independent donut shops, at larger chains like Krispy Kreme and on restaurant dessert menus—and several operations fully dedicated to churros have debuted in recent years, including New York’s Sweet Churros and Southern California’s Churro Stix. Here’s what the masterminds behind these eateries have to say about the trending treats.

They're #Instaworthy

Churros’ shapes, dips and toppings make them social media friendly—one reason Sweet Churros decided to offer curved versions with colorful coatings like matcha and strawberry crunch, according to co-founder Paul Choi. “Traditionally, churros are straight, but we were focusing on the design so people would take pictures,” Choi says. “Some people stop by because they saw one on Instagram or Yelp.”

They’re Easy to Make

Churro Stix employees add water to a prepared mix to create the dough for bitesize churros, churro ice cream sandwiches and other items. Once an order’s placed, preparation is quick: The dough is shaped and then fried for one to two minutes in canola oil. This lets employees focus on customization. “We give people options,” says founder Alen Aydinian. “Because we make them fresh, we can tailor [them] to each customer.”

They Elicit Nostalgia

Most Churro Stix customers have had the traditionally Spanish dessert before, according to Aydinian, who has fond memories of snacking on freshly made churros as a child during family vacations to Mexico. “Because people remember having them at carnivals growing up and from street vendors, churros hold a special place in their hearts,” he says. “A lot of times, it brings back childhood memories—that’s a wonderful thing.”