Doughbot Donuts, a business originally run from home, provides both innovative donut recipes and healthy vegan options. Bryan Widener, 25, and wife Dannah O’Donnell, 26, had their grand opening in their new building at 5 a.m. on Sept. 3 located in midtown at 2226 10th St., selling 700 donuts opening day, and 1,000 the next.
“People were waiting here at 5 a.m., and there was no downtime until probably like 8 a.m.,” O’Donnell said. “We sold out.”
Opening in a hip small shop downtown has been quite the life change for Widener and O’Donnell, who made most of their donuts solely for family and friends from their home since May 2010. To see how it all got started click here.
“Right now, I can’t think of a reason why anyone would want to do this. It is the most exhausting job I’ve ever had and we’ve had to completely change our sleep schedules. Between selling out within like three to five hours and trying to make enough donuts to fill demand with just the two of us, it is just really hard,” O’Donnell said.
According to O’Donnell, their new building used to be a sushi restaurant, and the dumpster outside was completely full of stuff they removed from the inside as they were renovating it for opening day. The couple said they gave up their other jobs and are completely dedicated to donut making now.
“So far, just getting open and making it this far makes all the lack of sleep and everything else worth it,” Widener said.
According to Widener, most of their customer base found them on Facebook and by word of mouth.
“As much as I like donuts, I often feel like I ate something insubstantial and there was no point. I ate a Doughbot donut and had a cup of coffee and it felt like breakfast, even though it was technically a treat,” customer and Facebook fan Ally Krumm, 26, said. “It’s because I know they are made from quality ingredients.”
Widener prepares most of the donuts himself, but O’Donnell has recently been contributing more in that area too. In the past O’Donnell had been a part of every aspect except the actual baking, which was more of Widener’s responsibility because he graduated from the Institute of Technology’s culinary school.
“We basically have all the same type of equipment that we’ve always had: a deep fryer that is both shallow and wide, a proofing box that provides a humid environment for the dough to rise in and a giant mixer,” O’Donnell said.
Three of Doughbot Donuts’ crowd-pleasers are the bacon maple donut,“The Dude,” which is a heavy white Russian Bavarian cream-filled donut with a vodka Kahlua glaze and the Meyer lemon creme filled donut.
“Right now I’m sick of our doughnuts, but I’m sure as things slow down a bit I’ll be stuffing my face again,” O’Donnell said. “One of our best ones I’d have to say would be our bacon apple fritter because it has both apple pie spices and bacon – I mean, what’s better than that?”
Some of their other regular donuts still include vanilla bean glazed, red raspberry, spicy cinnamon chocolate glazed, a variety of fritters and a new chai glaze donut. Most of their donuts also come in a vegan option and are made with almond milk and egg replacer and are completely made from scratch (besides the chocolate and bacon).
“We started making vegan donuts because when Bryan worked at Magpie (Cafe), he would bring donuts we’d made to work, and all his vegan coworkers would ask for it,” O’Donnell said.
Many of their ideas come from suggestions from fans on Facebook. For instance, someone posted an idea for a sriracha and peanut butter donut recently that they are planning on trying to make in the future.
“Everything we do is a team effort. We think of new things all the time too, like we have a peanut butter and jelly donut and a s’mores donut in the works right now,” O’Donnell said. “I’ll come to him with a new idea a lot of times, and he’ll be thinking about doing the same exact thing. It’s weird.”
Doughbot Donuts’ hours will be from 5 a.m. – 2 p.m. or until they run out of donuts every day except Tuesday, but are subject to change. Their prices range from $1.50 to $2 each.
“Our future goals would probably include, first off, getting a bathroom for our customers, and then eventually expanding so that we can stay open 24 hours,” Widener said.
Presently, there is little seating inside the shop but there is a small drawing area for children.
“Not only are they bringing a really high quality product to the region, they’re providing a colorful storefront to our landscape of midtown and I will do whatever I can to support them,” Krumm said.
For current updates and news visit Doughbot Donuts’ Facebook.
This story was edited to reflect the actual name of the business. We originally had it as simply Doughbot’s.