SARATOGA SPRINGS — Darling Donuts, a shop dedicated towards creating unique donuts, was set to open this month, but COVID-19 restrictions has pushed the store towards a new opening date.
Owner of Darling Donuts, Natascha Pearl-Mansman, set her new opening date at 441 Broadway to early June. Due to COVID-19 restrictions placed over the community, renovations have slowed the opening for her new store.
“Construction has been dramatically slowed. Part of the issue was some of the supply warehouses that we were getting the materials from were closed,” Pearl-Mansman said. “Little by little things are happening. This process…in the best of times takes longer than you hope it would, and in the worst of times it seems to drag on forever.”
Despite the slow progress, Pearl-Mansman said electrical work has finally finished and plumbing would start this week. After renovations are finished, Darling Donuts would wait for inspections once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
“Its really just a waiting game,” Pearl-Mansman said.
Darling Donuts started in 2018 after Pearl-Mansman had her first child. After experiencing difficulties in the past with pregnancy, Pearl-Mansman said she didn’t feel right putting her child in daycare.
“I decided not to go back to my regular job right away. The thought of putting her in daycare and working fulltime-after everything I went through just to have her in the first place-it was just too hard,” Pearl-Mansman said.
She began to spend more time at home with her new daughter, attempting to still earn an income to pay for loans she had. She took to her roots as an avid baker and started to bake cupcakes and cookies.
“There is a ton of people in this area that make [baked goods] and I didn’t want to feel like I would be competition against a ton of people early on just to get my name out there. I wanted to make something that was going to be different from everybody else,” Pearl-Mansman said.
The idea for Darling Donuts was inspired after visiting her sister in Brooklyn years prior. While there, Pearl-Mansman and her sister visited Doughnut Plant, a shop making different kinds of gourmet donuts. After experiencing not only the taste, but the feel and smell of the atmosphere Pearl-Mansman knew she needed to create something similar for Saratoga.
After testing her own recipes on family and friends, she decided to venture in a serious route and developed a business plan. New York only allows homemade food to be sold at farmers markets, and she realized she needed a proper kitchen to sell her donuts.
Pearl-Mansman found a commercial kitchen to rent and started to bake orders in summer 2018. She purchased her location on Broadway in November of 2019, partnering with Glenn Severance to expand Darling Donuts.
“Once I [started], things took off and started to get crazy. I increased my production as much as I could, with the equipment that I had in the kitchen that I was working in. A year and a half in, I realized it was time to move to the next step,” Pearl-Mansman said.
Pearl-Mansman creates all her donuts from scratch. Using brioche style dough, which creates a yeast raised donut. The brioche style gives Pearl-Mansman a neutral base that allows her to get creative with her donut flavors.
“I have really simply natural recipes and there is actually no sugar in the dough itself, just enough to get the yeast to rise. All of the flavor comes from the glazes and the toppings. And all the glazes and the toppings are made with real fruit and real nuts. Even the cake glazes that I do, such as funfetti, has actual cake that’s in the glaze,” Pearl-Mansman said.
Along with sweet donuts she creates, savory donuts are also listed on the menu. She creates an everything-bagel donut, which has a savory cream cheese glaze, everything-seasoning and a bagel chip on top. She also creates a pizza donut, which starts with a san-marzano tomato base topped with fresh mozzarella and pesto.
“The biggest compliment that I get from people is that it really tastes like you say it will. My donuts taste like what I say it will because that’s what I used to make them,” Pearl-Mansman said.
Until renovations on her Broadway store have finished, Pearl-Mansman will not be producing any donuts. The commercial kitchen Pearl-Mansman has been using belongs in a religious institution, which has since closed. However, once the Broadway shop finished, they will explore to-go and delivery options if the restrictions are not lifted.
“I like showing my children that if you work really hard and if you follow your dreams, that pretty much anything is possible. I never would have thought when I was writing my business plan that I’d be opening a store on Broadway. Things happen as long as you work hard and you are dedicated, then things fall into place,” Pearl-Mansman said. “There will be donuts.”