BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Becca Bryan got some very sage advice from the instructor of a business class she took a few years ago.
“She said, ‘Nobody knows you. Nobody cares about you. You have to start saying yes to everything,' " Bryan said.
Those three little sentences are what made Bryan quit her job at a Westport financial agency in favor of making 500 doughnuts a week.
The Bridgeport woman and her best friend, Betsy Arroyo of Derby, have taken a serious leap of faith this summer, opening Dixie Doughnuts by Whisk + Brush, an itty-bitty food truck they have outfitted with just enough equipment to live out their deep-fried dreams.
The doughnut truck — dubbed “Dixie” because Bryan and Arroyo like alliteration — is actually an extension of Bryan’s 4-year-old food blog, Whisk + Brush, which started as an outlet for Bryan to write about two of her passions, food and art.
“Becca was always messing around in the kitchen with food,” said Arroyo, a Derby resident who still works at the financial agency when she’s not serving up circular slices of heaven.
Blog readers began asking if Bryan catered and — true to form — she said yes. Soon she and Arroyo were moonlighting at weddings and parties.
Though neither is formally trained, both have some experience working in the food industry and just enough fake-it-’til-you-make-it drive to succeed.
By chance, Bryan also was fiddling around with a doughnut recipe. The business partners got the bright idea to focus on the fryolator, setting up pop-up tent shops at farmers' markets in Black Rock and downtown two years ago.
“Neither Betsy nor I are morning people,” Bryan said. “We would not get up at five in the morning if we didn’t love what we’re doing.”
And, once again, they were a hit.
“We sold out in the first hour or so,” Bryan said.
This summer, the pair decided to kick it up a notch, buying a 1975 camper that friends helped them convert in the last few months using $12,000 in Kickstarter money.
They’ve also expanded their menu, which includes both sweet glazed and sprinkled doughnuts and their very own savory “doughn’wiches,” including a caprese salad, tasty Cuban, BBQ chicken and beet burgers.
What keeps them going?
“This is fun,” Arroyo said. “I never thought I would be doing something like this at this stage of my life. It’s a new adventure!”
You can find Dixie Doughnuts at the Downtown Farmers Market at McLevy Green from noon to 3 p.m. Thursdays and at the Black Rock Farmers Market, 481 Brewster St., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit www.whiskandbrush.com .
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