Getting Glazed & Confused
By Lorna Oppedisano | Photography by Steven J. Pallone
“Why doughnuts… why not?” mused Sarah Valenti, co-owner of Glazed & Confused, the newly-opened doughnut shop on Clinton Street in downtown Syracuse. “Everybody loves doughnuts.”
Based on their first half-year in a brick-and-mortar location — they opened the doors last year in November — Sarah is right.
The idea for Glazed & Confused was hatched on the drive back from a family vacation in Dewey Beach, Del., a few years ago. Each year, Sarah, her husband and Glazed & Confused co-owner, Paul, and their two children would start and end their trip at Fractured Prune Doughnuts, a Dewey Beach staple.
That year was a special one. On the drive home, the children suggested the family open their own doughnut shop. Paul is entrepreneurial, Sarah explained, so the idea wasn’t incredibly farfetched. By the time they’d returned home, the Valenti family had a plan and a name for their new venture.
“It was a fun six-hour car ride home,” Sarah remembered.
For the next two years, they offered a variety of doughnuts at the Taste of Syracuse from their booth, Glazed & Confused.
They decided to make cake doughnuts — pastries that are crispy on the outside, like traditional, old-fashioned doughnuts, Sarah explained. The family agreed that if they were to make a go in the doughnut industry, they would make it a priority to give back, donating a portion of their proceeds from the Taste of Syracuse back into the community.
Then came time to make a decision — would the business continue exclusively as a pop-up at the festival each year, or become established in a brick-and-mortar space?
“Could [Syracuse] sustain a gourmet doughnut shop?” she remembered wondering.
The co-owners pondered the decision and potential shop location. They were torn between searching for space in downtown Syracuse or the suburbs.
The spot they ultimately chose was at the top of their wish list. It was far enough from the heart of downtown to ensure decent parking options — the one-way street has spots on either side — while still close enough to downtown to be part of its growing community. Then, one day, the space became available to rent. About a week and a half later, they signed a lease.
The family worked with local designer Tommy Lincoln, who created the original Glazed & Confused logo, to make the space fun and whimsical, without being cookie cutter, Sarah said.
“We want this to be an experience,” she explained.
And it is. Though they’ve only been open for about half a year, Glazed & Confused is a regular weekend spot for many repeat customers.
The team, which includes two pastry chefs, offers a variety of doughnuts Tuesday through Sunday, including their signature doughnut, The Dizzy Pig, featuring maple glaze, bourbon sugar and candied locally-cured bacon. Follow Glazed & Confused on social media to learn about weekly specials.
Whether it’s partnering with organizations like Vera House to help raise awareness with a special doughnut or passing out doughnuts at The Rescue Mission on the weekends, giving back to the community has remained at the heart of the family’s mission.
“When we’re doing events in the community and when we’re giving back, I think it’s really important for [our children] to be involved and to be there,” Sarah said.
Sarah and Paul are considering expanding the business at some point in the future, exploring options of other locations in Central New York or elsewhere in the state. To do that, they’d have to find the right formula to duplicate Glazed & Confused, Sarah said. That would mean finding the right space and — most importantly — the right staff, Sarah said, adding that they’re lucky to have the team they work with now.
“Part of being here is the experience,” Sarah said. “Our No. 1 is customer service.” SWM
Glazed & Confused is located at 211 N. Clinton St. in downtown Syracuse. Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For Glazed & Confused menus and specials, visit glazedsyr.com. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/glazedsyr, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram @glazedsyr. Customers may also order online through Grubhub.