Story and photos by Cindy Ruggieri
They had me at the name.
A donut shop called Glazed & Confused sounded like a place I needed to check out.
I’m so glad I did.
Glazed & Confused on North Clinton Street in Syracuse recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. It’s owned and operated by the Valenti family. Parents Paul and Sarah credit their two school-age children Izabella and Roman with the donut shop idea, and have named them cofounders of the business. “We were on our way home from a beach vacation when they asked, “Why don’t we have a cool donut shop at home, like our favorite donut store that we always visit on vacation?’” Sarah explains. “Paul’s entrepreneurial spirit ran with it, and a few months later we opened.”
What a cool place it is. Upbeat music fills the air, colorful donuts featuring big bushy mustaches are painted on the walls, and a disco ball hangs from the ceiling. The décor is trimmed in purple. Signature donut flavors have fun, quirky names: The Dizzy Pig, Holy Cannoli, Pardon My French Toast, and the Cereal Killer.
“We didn’t really have a plan for what flavors we wanted to offer,” Sarah explains. “It was pretty much all of us throwing out an idea. For example, we felt we needed to offer a berry flavored donut, so we experimented with ingredients and did plenty of tasting until we found what we wanted.”
Donuts are always fresh, made in batches of 30 and replenished constantly throughout the day. Customers can order online through Grubhub.
In addition to their signature donuts, Glazed & Confused offers daily specials Tuesday through Saturday. It may be a special seasonal flavor or a favorite cake donut. On Wednesday and Saturday they offer a gluten-free donut. On Friday evenings, called “Shake it up Friday,” the shop offers milkshakes in the same flavors as their donut creations, and a hot chocolate bar.
“We wanted to have more than just a donut shop,” says Paul. “We wanted to create an experience.”
The response from the community has made Glazed & Confused a pretty busy place, and the Valentis are making plans to expand to other cities, including Rochester, Ithaca, and Binghamton, Paul says.
An underlying mission is to support the community that has been so supportive of the business. “We try to give back; to meet whatever the need is at the time” says Sarah. Whether it’s staffing a booth at a community event or simply providing donuts to a Halloween party for underprivileged children, it’s an important part of their business model.
The warm personalities of the owners play a big role in the success of their shop. As I sat eating my hot cinnamon sugar donut (every single finger-licking bite!), I watched Paul greet each customer like an old friend. The engaging smiles of Roman and Izzy were just as welcoming, and I overheard Sarah at the register telling customers to “have an awesome day!”
Awesome indeed. I’ll be back.