Dough Nation has tasty treats for a sweet cause

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There's a sweet sensation downtown on Tampa Street that's been drawing in crowds since opening day.

It's called Dough Nation and edible cookie dough is the main draw. But there's a sweet cause behind the concept. 

"It was a line all the way down. It was crazy. But the people loved it," said Chef Cliff Barsi of Metropolitan Ministries, who is behind the concept.

There are vegan and gluten-free options available. The ingredient that makes it safe to eat is heat-treated flour.

"It kills off any bacteria in it. That way you can eat it raw," explained Barsi.

The concept came from New York but was brought to the Bay Area with the help of another business through a Tampa-based foundation.

"Bob Basham from PDQ and Outback, he owns the building. He's donated to us for years. He mentioned, 'Why don't you try making some edible cookie dough?'" Barsi said.

The product is put together with fresh ingredients in the kitchen at Metropolitan Ministries, with the help of culinary students. 

"It's more than just the cookie dough. We make all the components for it as well we make the fluff homemade, the caramel sauce homemade from scratch," said culinary instructor Peter Bates.

Even the ice cream served with the dough has local ties.

"We use a really good ice cream out of St. Petersburg, Working Cow ice cream," said Barsi.

The business ultimately helps local families in need.

"All the proceeds going back to Metropolitan Ministries to feed the 3,000 meals we do every day throughout Tampa Bay," said Barsi.

For more information on Dough Nation, visit

For more information on Metropolitan Ministries, visit