Niagara Falls native Ann Hogan is serving up sweetness in the Buffalo food scene. Fry Baby Donuts, a vegan doughnut shop on Elmwood Avenue, opened its doors in the beginning of June.
The shop initially began with a renegade approach. A friend of Hogan’s was working to open a bar and restaurant, and Hogan rented the kitchen to test out her recipes and batch capacity.
“I would make these large-scale batches of donuts, and I wouldn't want to throw them out so I just kind of texted everybody in my phone who would want donuts,” she says. Later that night she would be out dropping off orders. You could call it “the underground donut delivery,” she says with a laugh.
Eventually, an opportunity to open up a storefront at 336 South Elmwood Ave. presented itself. Designed to be take-out only, the inside of the shop consists of a spacious bakery with a couple of stools. Hogan is the sole owner of the shop, accompanied by her right-hand baker.
As the only vegan doughnut shop in Buffalo, Hogan says she believes the closest is Beechwood Doughnuts in St. Catherines, Ontario and Misfit Doughnuts in Rochester, N.Y. But regardless of being made with egg replacer and soy milk, vegans and non-vegans alike are flocking to the shop.
Hogan says, “I wanted to do something that was accessible for everybody, just so I wasn’t honing in on a super-niche, exclusive kind of thing.”
Popularity has grown as the shop is selling out of their donuts nearly everyday. There are a few staples such as chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon buns and fritters in addition to some rotating flavors. Coffee, tea and a soda selection are also available.
As a new business owner she shares advice on the uncertainty that can come in the beginning stages.
“There’s a lot of ambiguity to starting your own business. I guess just kind of stick to, and be true to what it is you want out of the business. Try not to lose sight of what your goals are,” she says. “There’s a lot of support out there and a lot of people will tell you ‘this is how you should do this’ or ‘ this is the best way to do it’ - you have to kind of assess what’s really going to work best for you and stay on top of your vision.”
As a female business owner, Hogan reflects on how her efforts have a small but impactful effect on gender inequality in the workplace.
“Something I can draw from this is seeing my obligation to combat this notion of female inadequacy that exists in workplaces, especially in a food service setting. Our staff is mostly women and I'd be lying if I said it doesn't feel good to look around and see that we were able to build a work environment where as women, we are aware of how microaggressions and workplace biases can take a toll and make a job suck. It feels good not really worrying about whether or not your coworkers respect your opinions or actually take you seriously.”
Fry Baby Donuts is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. or until sold out. Make sure they’re still open if it’s later on in the day by checking out their Facebook or Instagram for updates.