Yo! Donut, which opened on June 12, is Amber and Andrew Baker's first storefront. Neither has any specific dietary restrictions, but according to Amber, the goal was to create doughnuts that everyone can enjoy.
"We had friends and family around us that were vegan, gluten-free or had allergies," she says. "And our doughnuts were really popular and we would get orders for events such as baby showers and weddings."
Growing popularity led the Bakers to launch their storefront. Thanks to what Andrew jokingly calls "an Easy-Bake Oven type of set-up," with a small kitchen, the Bakers have shifted their lives and sleep schedules. The hours are long in order to produce fresh doughnuts on a large scale.
"The most we've baked in one day was 480 doughnuts and we average around 360 to 400 doughnuts," Amber says. "When we sell out, we sell out."
Coffee and doughnuts: A perfect pair
Yo! Donut's slogan "We Got U" is meant to convey the owners' dreams of creating doughnuts for everybody. Whereas traditional doughnuts can be greasy and puffed up, Yo! Donuts provides "lightly flash-fried" baked doughnuts with a cakey consistency that pairs well with Amber's other passion: coffee.
"The idea is to provide food that everyone can enjoy. For example, the sprinkles are specially ordered from England because it is challenging to find soy-free sprinkles. All of the syrups are made in-house, all of the dairy-free milk alternatives we carry are chosen by what tastes the best," Amber says.
Yo! Donut started with farmers markets and wholesale orders before really taking off. Their first wholesale order was from their current coffee supplier, GrindTime Coffee in Gilbert.
"Being able to carry GrindTime Coffee in our shop feels like a full circle moment," Amber says.
She says they built a loyal fan base before the store opened and had built-in customers following along on their journey from the beginning. Andrew says he's proud that around 50% of those who stop by the shop are return customers.
The Doughnut Duo
Andrew grew up in Arizona and met Amber while working at a Whole Foods in Nashville, Tennessee.
"He was in the bakery and I was in coffee, I always wanted to be involved with coffee and was really interested in roasting," Amber says.
The duo realized their shared passions and returned to Andrew's home of Arizona to launch their business.
"The humidity in Tennessee actually affected the recipes. Arizona is better for baking and it was always home," Andrew says.
Andrew originally thought he would become a nurse, but after realizing the profession wasn't a fit, he decided to serve others in another way: by making doughnuts that all can enjoy. The shop's quirky name, he says, comes from the recipes "that make people say Yo! This is vegan? Yo! This is gluten-free? Yo! This is safe for my peanut allergy?"
After visiting the shop, the Bakers' passion and creativity is obvious. They feature their dog Mango on the Yo! Donut logo as well their other two rescue dogs on the back of their business cards. The incorporaion of Cora, Duncan and Mango gives the shop an added personal touch.
What's on the menu?
We tried the lemon, chocolate sprinkle and seasonal chocolate pumpkin doughnuts, the last of which was our favorite. Each donut has a distinct flavor without the artificial taste or overly syrupy bite typical of the treat. Andrew says his current favorite is the cinnamon sugar and Amber likes the pumpkin spice crumble.
The doughnuts are slightly smaller than some, allowing customers to try multiple flavors, Andrew says.
"Try at least one creative flavor like Matcha French Toast," Amber urges, "customers seem to really enjoy both the simple, classic options and the really wild and creative ones the most."
To guarantee the availability of specific flavors, the couple recommends preordering. It's also a good idea to check in on Yo! Donut's Instagram, where they announce when donuts get close to selling out in real-time. An order of four doughnuts is $12 and a box of nine costs $25.
With a rotating menu of 150 flavors, there are lots of great options to choose from as well as plenty to inspire your next visit. We got a sneak peek at some of the Bakers' holiday donuts and gingerbread, peppermint and cranberry will be coming this winter.
The Bakers have lots of ideas and projects to look forward to. Some things in the works include doggy doughnuts and pup-cups, a loyalty reward program for customers and working with sunflower butter, a popular alternative to peanut butter for those with nut allergies.
As for an official grand opening, the duo says that once they have a fuller staff, an event is highly likely. But for now, Yo! Donut is a small-batch, neighborhood spot churning out sweet treats that all can enjoy.