Donut worry, be happy; it’s National Donut Day! While you think about how to celebrate this important occasion, why not consider indulging your sweet tooth and supporting an entrepreneur at the same time? Owner and founder of Blackbird Doughnuts, Rebecca Roth Gullo, has made doughnuts a staple in the diets of many Bostonians and, like most entrepreneurs, the road to success wasn’t planned or free from a few road bumps.
Gullo had always envisioned herself pursuing a career in politics or law, but after not making it into Harvard Law School, she sought a different path. Though born and raised in the Boston area, Gullo packed up and moved to New York City to enroll in culinary school. From there, her career as a chef and restaurateur began.
Upon moving back to Boston, Gullo landed a line cook job in the heart of the South End, a neighborhood known for its cutting-edge food scene. But, after several years of working for someone else, decided it was time for a new challenge and grabbed the opportunity to start up her own restaurant. In 2010, The Gallows was born and became a popular gastropub in the South End. Soon thereafter, Gullo created The Gallows Group, a collective for her future eateries.
When Gullo got pregnant, though, she felt the inspiration to move in a different direction and wanted a new project. One fateful, old fashioned doughnut in Chicago changed her perspective on the traditionally sweet treats and where she wanted to go with her future eateries. In 2015, she opened Blackbird Doughnuts, the only artisanal doughnut shop in Boston that bakes on site.
To begin the next culinary challenge, Gullo partnered with fellow female powerhouse and head baker, Anna Perna, who knew much more about doughnuts and could provide the expertise that Gullo lacked. Gullo, herself, admits that had she known anything about doughnuts and how intensive the process is she may never have started the new business. An important lesson for any entrepreneur: do not ignore your idea simply because you don’t have all of the information; pursue your dream and find a team that will help you make it a reality.
And while Gullo and Perna made Blackbird a success on their own, they also had a little help from famous patrons, specifically the revered singer Adele.
In 2016, while stopping in Boston for a concert on her tour, Adele became so obsessed with the Boston Cream Blackbird doughnut that she gushed about it on stage at her concert that night. The next morning, Blackbird was sold out by 9 AM.
Anna Perna recommends first-time visitors try Blackbird’s iconic vanilla glazed doughnuts. If you are feeling more adventurous, however, Blackbird also serves savory doughnuts for a fun twist at any time of the day.
Where will you be going for National Donut Day? Have you been to Blackbird Doughnuts? Do you have a favorite doughnut flavor? Let us know in the comments below and share this blog post with your doughnut-loving, female-supporting friends!
Author: Shae Eldridge
Photo Credit: Blackbird Doughnut's Instagram