When Derrick Faulcon acquired vegan donut company Donut Alliance in 2019, he renamed it Cloudy Donut because he believed eating the soft pastry felt “light and airy, like biting into a cloud.”
Like its predecessor, Cloudy Donut serves all-vegan recipes, which means using applesauce instead of eggs, no dairy, and no animal byproducts. They also bake all their donuts from scratch and in-house.
The company opened its first shop in 2020 on Harford Road on the edge of Baltimore’s Beverly Hills neighborhood, and they later expanded to a second location on Charles Street in Federal Hill in 2021. Their third shop will open its doors in two weeks in Brooklyn, New York.
As a Black-owned business, Cloudy Donut has prioritized “bringing our Black business to our neighborhoods and providing access to our Black communities,” said Zewiditu Ruffin, Cloudy Donut’s partnerships director. That includes employing a majority Black and Brown staff.
“Looking ahead we want to provide support for African-American businesses and mentor people in the restaurant industry,” Ruffin said.
Ruffin said many Black restaurateurs and entrepreneurs don’t have a “blueprint” for doing business, so Cloudy Donut wants to offer guidance to those who want it.
“We want to meet people in the middle,” she said. “It’s bigger than us. We want an opportunity for people that are passionate about food but don’t have the education to get what they need.”
The Cloudy Donut shops are part of Faulcon’s culinary empire, which also includes Home Maid, a boutique breakfast and brunch restaurant where all meals are made from scratch, and Boss Steaks, a gourmet cheesesteak pop-up.
Faulcon launched his donut venture in 2020, when established businesses were just trying to stay afloat at the start of the pandemic.
Ruffin said the shops have a to-go restaurant model, which has helped attract customers during the pandemic. Their menu is also available for order on food delivery apps like GrubHub and DoorDash.
Cloudy Donut offers 44 flavors, which they rotate every weekend, including blue vanilla glaze, Oreo cookie crumbles, and mango chili lime. They also have powdered and sugared donuts on the menu for those who prefer a more plain donut.
Customers don’t have to be vegan to enjoy one of Cloudy’s desserts; they just have to love donuts.