When I first moved to San Diego, it became my mission to find the best food and coolest restaurants. I started following food blogs, Instagram accounts, Yelp & would keep an eye out for new restaurants popping up around our neighborhood. One of the first spots that hit my radar was Donut Bar. Everywhere I looked and everyone I talked to knew about Donut Bar & their infamous concoctions. The first 4 times I tried to visit their store, they were closed because they had sold out. Seriously! 4 times in a row! I started getting a little discouraged. But knew that if a donut shop was selling out of treats every day, it was worth the trek.
Finally… after failed attempts at satisfying my sugar craving, I waited in like for about 10 minutes at 9 AM and had my first Donut Bar experience. i remember it like it was yesterday… I was kind of nervous. What would I order, how would I make a decision? I didn’t want it to seem like it was my first donut rodeo, I wanted to seem like a regular and blend in. In typical Erin fashion, I basically blacked out and put an order in. I don’t even remember it – I just started spitting donut names out. I ordered the Nutella Overload and Cake Batter. One for me and one for Tony. Aka I “buy him one” so that I can try both. From that point on, Donut Bar and I became best friends. One day I realized I could order them via Postmates & Uber Eats and my life literally changed. Instead of driving downtown… I could have someone pick up donuts for me!? CHA-CHING!
Side Note: Whether you live in SD or somewhere else, if you don’t have either Postmates or Uber Eats you can get discounts using my codes… aka FREE FOOD!!!
Uber Eats = $10 off using eats-erina320
Postmates = $100 off using SXMU
Ok, back to my story… so after eating countless donuts, I decided to reach out to Donut Bar to do a feature on them. I know what you’re thinking, what’s so special about a donut shop? This isn’t just a donut shop, it’s THE DONUT SHOP. Donut Bar serves fresh, innovative, gourmet donuts that not only look totally Instagram worthy, but taste like someone cooked it with love, especially for you. Did I mention they also serve beer!? Literally, a Donut Bar! I love that they’re doing something innovative & fun, always creating different over the top flavor combinations & have basically gone viral. I thought it would be really cool to talk to Chef Santiago, the owner of Donut Bar to learn more about their business and more of the backstory. I think it’s really cool seeing other business owners who are passionate about what they do and kind of “march to the beat of their own drum” to start something authentic.
When I met Chef Santiago for a tour of Donut Bar, he served us up a few Mimosas. Note: any time you give me dessert and a mimosa – I instantly feel super fancy and am a lifer. He showed us around the shop (which is actually pretty massive) and sat down with me to answer a few questions!
Alright, so give me a little introduction for any of my followers who haven’t been to Donut Bar.
I’m Chef Santiago! Here are a couple of things about how I see things:
I had one goal when I started Donut Bar – to make the very best donuts that I personally could.
I work an honest 7 day a week work schedule. To put that into perspective when day 8 rolls around that doesn’t mean it’s a day off! That means that I’ve worked about 1400 days straight, aside from the 4 days I took off this spring to chill in the Bahamas with my 16 year old son! All work and no play can and will lead most people to a quick burn out, so I recharge primarily feeding off of my customer’s energy and excitement when they visit Donut Bar. My guilty pleasure is exotic cars though, I like to buy and drive Porsche’s, Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s and share my hobby with my two sons. So instead of vacations and days off, I treat each drive into work as a mini vacation!
How did you get your start?
What inspired you to open Donut Bar?
I always knew that I wanted to open my very own bakery and I always had an unusual fascination with the simplicity of the donut. When the time came to seriously consider the type of bakery I was going to open all things led me to creating Donut Bar. DONUTS ARE MY LIFE (literally)!
What has been your biggest hurdle in being a business owner?
What’s your favorite thing on the menu?
What makes Donut Bar different from your average donut shop?
I believe that there are many levels to why Donut Bar IS Donut Bar and at the highest point of the “donut echelon”.
First and foremost, it’s about the quality of our dough. I have personally poured every ounce of my culinary craft, knowledge, and wisdom into making a really incredible dough.
The dough was just the foundation, I was then able to develop creative flavor profiles for our glazes, fillings, and garnishes.
Donut Bar goes beyond creating the most award winning donuts in world, Donut Bar delivers energy and excitement by way of a true passion for donuts!
What advice would you give to my followers who want to follow their dreams and pursue a unique career path?
The most important thing is to know what you want… what you REALLY want and what is really important to you. It should take a considerable amount of deep thought, emotion, and include self compromise to understand this part, but it’s the most critical. Once you have been honest with yourself & have the determination, you can set your mind to it.
The number one piece of advice I can give is to stay consistent! There are a million and one “convenient distractions” as I refer to them, or “CD’s”, don’t let them get the best of you!
For me all things pointed to creating Donut Bar. I’m really looking forward to sharing Donut Bar with even more people. I’m excited to expand and ready for the brand to franchise in the next few weeks!
A BIG thank you to Chef Santiago & the Donut Bar crew for taking the time to meet and chat with me, AND let me try all of their donuts! It’s so exciting and motivating meeting people who are living their passions and making their dreams a reality. I hope you guys enjoyed learning more about Donut Bar and can find some motivation and inspiration from Chef Santiago’s story!
If you’re ever in San Diego, be sure to visit Donut Bar and tell them I sent you! They also have a location in Las Vegas & will be expanding soon, so keep an eye out! Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram!