Glazed Donut Works, Dallas’ newest artisan donut shop, will open their doors tomorrow at 7am. They offer handcrafted, small batch donuts, using mainly Texas sourced ingredients and “no mixes or preservatives”. Some of the unique creations include the “Coco Loco” with toasted coconut and almonds over a coconut milk and rum glaze; the “Blind Limoncello”, a tribute to the history of our Deep Ellum neighborhood and tip of the hat to Blind Lemon Jefferson, a “Bananas Foster Fritter” made from caramelized bananas, brown sugar, rum, and their house made vanilla; and “The Elvis Killer” made with the King’s favorites: peanut butter, bacon, bananas, and honey.
The shop is located in Deep Ellum two doors down from Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Elm Street. We sat down recently with owners Darren Cameron and Bill Handshy to get the scoop and talk shop.
You guys were both commercial producers/directors before this. Why open a donut shop?
BILL: The film industry was an exciting place to work. We both loved it. However the past few years brought on challenges on the creative side as well as the budget side that took some of the fun out of it. It was time for a new venture.
DARREN: I was on a shoot in Portland, and every day we drove past the huge lines outside Voodoo Donuts. It was crazy. People were waiting in line for over 2 hours just for a donut! It opened my eyes to the gourmet donut movement that had been gaining traction throughout the states. Voodoo was setup in an area that felt very much like Deep Ellum, where my studio was located. The wheels were definitely spinning.
You created these recipes yourselves. Did you go to culinary school, or how did they come about?
BILL: We worked for over a year, experimenting with ingredients, reading books, visiting other donut shops we enjoy, and testing, testing, testing.
DARREN: My mother was the best cook I ever met, and she taught me the way around a kitchen at an early age. When we decided to do this, we researched, read, and did everything we could to learn how to make a great donut. Like Bill said, it’s all about testing, tweaking, and practicing. We didn’t stop until we felt we had a “one of a kind” donut that would stand out above the rest.
Who will be making donuts?
DARREN: We just hired a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Jennifer Woodard, to run the kitchen. She comes from a baking and restaurant background, and has a real passion for what we are doing.
BILL: Honestly we had candidates with 20 years experience that wanted the job, but she came with glowing recommendations and a youthful energy we felt was a great fit for us. We really like her input and what she has brought to the table.
Deep Ellum was hit with hard times a few years ago. How do you think the area is doing now?
DARREN: The place is booming. All kinds of restaurants, clubs, bars, businesses, and even schools are now snapping up spaces that were empty only three years ago. They’re places that are built for longevity, and we try to help each other out down here.
BILL: We have an opportunity for a very diverse clientele. There are tons of residents, a heavy municipal employee presence, middle school kids from just down the street, Baylor hospital workers, the list goes on. It’s a world of difference from four years ago.
What makes Glazed Donut Works different from the 600 other donut shops in Dallas?
DARREN: We tested ingredients for over a year. There are some good mixes out there which most shops use, however we ultimately decided that our own dough formula was better than any of them.
BILL: Many vendors approached us with “buckets” of toppings and fillings. They’re full of preservatives and chemicals, and didn’t sit right with us. Our recipes and ingredients are preservative free, and everything is made from scratch. Even our vanilla is made “in house”. We also have a Vegan donut, too.
There are other artisan donut shops in Dallas. Have you tried them? Are they your competition?
BILL: We are each in unique areas so we don’t see them as direct competition. I’d really like to see Dallas become known as one of the top cities in the US to find great, hand crafted donuts, and we are all a part of making that happen.
DARREN: I think it’s important that we all support each other. Let’s make the donut scene the best we can. I’m not going to knock a place that I know makes good donuts. I’ve eaten my share of Hypnotic donuts in the past. It’s “all good”!
How has the process been opening your first “restaurant”, and what do you see in the future for GDW?
BILL: It’s been eye opening. Darren owns the building so we acted as our own contractor. We never knew it would be so tough. Building and health code regulations are challenging to say the least. The daily surprises of meeting those regulations are why we are opening four months late. (we all chuckle)
DARREN: We have a short pink bus that will allow us to cater events and make the mobile rounds to donut lovers. We’ll serve high-end gourmet coffee, and keep creating new recipes for our daily and weekly specials. Right now we are open from 7AM to Noon, but soon we will open on Friday and Saturday nights from 9PM to 3AM.
Uh Oh. Self-control can be rough when leaving the clubs after a few, but maybe that’s the idea. Sure, I’ll take two dozen with me for the ride home.