The Fried Dough Thread.

Okay, a bit of self-pimping here. I’m not really sure why I’m feeling the net to write this, but for the funny coincidences. And I see no other place to put it (‘What have you cooked lately that’s interesting?’ Maybe?). So here we are with a new thread.

The topic of fried dough has been brought up twice around here in bizarre places the last few weeks- once in a thread here in EE, and again just tonight in the Everspace thread of all places. Weird. I know we like to go off on tangents, but still.

Anyway, I mentioned a few weeks back in an unrelated thread (Sea of Thieves?) that I just started a new business. That business is making donuts… only not like you’re thinking. Not a donut shop, where you go in and buy a dozen out of a case, but a place where you buy a little dish of them and they get cooked to order. The menu and flavors change every week- raised, cake, fritters- I’m even doing crullers this week.

Now here’s the catch. The business is new, and I’m poor, and the Seattle real estate market the last few years (the time I’ve been trying to get it off the ground) is fucking nuts. So after a few years of striking out with landlords and investment to get it started, I finally decided to start small and get a booth at the local farmer’s market on Sunday mornings. I’ve been doing it a month or so now, and it’s working out well.

I can link to my FB business page and/or Instagram account here if anyone wants more info. Or if you’re in Seattle and come by the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market on any Sunday morning and say you’re from Qt3, I’ll give you a free donut. Look for ‘9th and Hennepin’.

That’s awesome man! What got you into donuts, if I may ask? I always love entrepreneur stories.

Free donut? Interesting.

On a completely unrelated note, how good would you say you are at spotting disguises?

Well, I’ve always loved them, for one.

Past that, I’ve been a cook/chef for a couple decades (why I’m poor, heh- it’s a terribly paying industry), including being a pastry chef for 4+ years, and starting a bakery at a small local restaurant chain I was Exec at for 5+ years. So I have the know-how.

Third, I figure it’s an ‘easy’ business to run, given the cost of goods is minimal- where a normal food service operation runs a food cost of 25-30% (meaning if a customer pays $10 for a dish, the cost of the materials to make it are between $2.50-$3, not including labor, energy, etc), I’m running sub-10%, and that’s buying local/organics/fair-trade/etc. Ingredients. Kind of gives me a little more leeway on the other sides of the business. Part of the reason I can offer free donuts to the crowd, heh.

I approve of this business.

I would like to know more.

Sure, why not. I’m terrible at this newfangled internet marketing myself thing, as I’m sure you can tell.

On the menu last weekend (and from here you can find the rest of the account- not much there yet, but it’s coming along)

And my business page on FB:

Thanks! As you should, given the avatar. :)

I would be all over these. Glazed rhubarb fritters, served fresh and hot? You’re singing my song here. If I get out to Seattle, I’m heading your way.

The rhubarb fritters were pretty great, if I do say so myself. I got the rhubarb from a local farm (but yeah, it was grown in a hothouse), and the stalks were this deep, bright red the whole way down and all the way through- not a hint of green on them anywhere. Never seen anything like them. After a light roasting with some honey they were sweet and tart, and the fritters came out with these gorgeous shoots of pink and red. I’ll so jonesing to get to proper springtime fruit.

Starting off small can lead to big things. Did you ever read the Cinnabon story? It sounds like you are trying to emulate it and you have the advantage of being in the same geographic area!

The dark-grown rhubarb is known for being gorgeously red throughout, but grows so fast you can actually hear the plants popping and creaking as they ascend.

That is kind of the plan- start small and work this a few days a week for a year or so, then be able to show banks/landlords a business with a sustainable model and customer base, to help get a brick-and-mortar location. I don’t want to turn out into a chain, though- I’m more about the small, hands-on thing. I just want a business of my own that pays me and my employees enough to live on.

Yeast donuts or cake? They look like cake from the pic, craggy texture.

Have you considered selling funnelcakes?

Also it looks like you don’t sell coffee, which would be a major profit center and a natural fit with donuts.

And finally, think about branding. If I was going to start a donut concession, I would call it Bearclaw and make that my signature product. The marketing is all pretty obvious.

Aw shit man, this is so up my alley a couple buildings just sprung up on either side of me. No I don’t know what that means. But I will eat the hell out of a donut.

Only catch for me is getting to Capitol Hill on a Sunday, it’s usually kind of busy for me. But I always try to make it to the West Seattle farmer’s market every week so if you should ever branch out that way, I will surely be there.

The wife will be visiting family in Seattle in 2 weeks. I will tell her about this.

I’m not allowed to sell coffee at the market- they have specific rules about what you can sell- local/etc.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, the menu changes every week. There are a few constants, though. There is always a yeast raised donut (ring, filled, twist, etc), and there is always a fritter- I use the scraps from the other raised donut for that. I always have a cake donut, though the dough changes a fair bit- the pic is a hazelnut dough, but that week I also had a potato cake dough, and I’ve done old fashioned, applesauce, etc. Then I have something else- sometimes another raised, or another cake, this week I’m playing with crullers.

Shame about the coffee.

Think about the Bearclaw branding! Mascot is a bear kicking back in a la-z-boy dipping his fist into a coffee mug. Adorable!

Heh, my idea of adorable is the low-key Tom Waits reference I’ve got. Thanks, though. ;)


No? OK then.