By James Dungeon
[Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Isiah Canady, owner of Outlaw Donuts, 414 W. Goodwin St., 928-379-5606, OutlawDonutsInc.Com.]
How long has Outlaw Donuts been around?
February makes it three years living in Prescott/Prescott Valley with my wife and kids. We opened our doors on June 14 and we had a grand opening for Outlaw Donuts on July 26.
What’s your background?
I’m a certified chef — French cuisine — and traveled all over Spain, Morocco, and Germany. My mother’s a tax accountant and we put our brains together on opening a B&B-like business. Opening up a B&B these days is like trying to open up a taxicab company in the day of Uber, so we decided on a bakery. After two months of prepping for a full bakery it kind of turned into a donut shop. The name comes from a theme we were going to do with outlaws on motorcycles, but because this is Prescott it became a cowboy outlaw. … I’m trained in baking and in pastries, and everything, but I hadn’t done anything like this in the industry before. Baking requires a lot of different skills. It’s a lot of leaveners, mixing, battering, the temperatures of everything. The elevation plays a big role here. Hot order cooking came naturally to me. This didn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve learned a lot already.
To say nothing of the ridiculous hours you no doubt keep.
It’s definitely crazy. Sometimes we come in at like 9 at night and sometimes it’s closer to midnight. Most of the time it’s graveyard shifts that make for 12- to 16-hour days. It’s me, my wife, my brother, my mother, and Lexi (Editor’s note: A patron interjects at this point. “Lexi’s awesome.”) There’s a lot of family around. The good part of that is you get to be around your family every day. That’s cool. Everybody’s got the same goal in mind. The drawbacks are that you don’t have the authority like you would over other employees.
So, you’ve got donuts. What kind of donuts?
We’ve got the traditional things like old-fashioned, maple, chocolate, white, glazed, cake donuts. Then we’ve got the funky ones. Apple fritters the size of your head, cereal-topped ones like Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, and then bacon maple donuts with actual bacon on a long john. And we do some candied donuts with candy bars. There are holiday donuts and, well, lots of things. With the name Outlaw Donuts, you’re not really tied to anything. … We probably produce anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 donuts daily and we rarely have many leftovers.
Your donuts are already creeping into other places, including Wild Iris, correct?
They feature our donuts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They reached out to us and we came to agreement. You know, it helps and it gets us seen.
What’s been the response to the décor? And the location?
Everyone loves. People come in and look around and think it’s really cute and rustic. We’re close to downtown and we have all these neighborhood businesses right here. We couldn’t have picked a better location or better neighbors. … People seem to have really taken to us. People see us out at other places and come up and want to talk about the donuts. It’s nice to have support behind you like that. As far as our regulars go, we have the car guys who have these old classic cars who are here every Saturday morning and have started buying t-shirts from us. That’s pretty amazing and I definitely want to mention them.
What was the most difficult thing about starting Outlaw Donuts?
The elevation was probably the most difficult thing. It was task for us to figure out to make it work. We’re, what, 5,100 feet? You have to change your leavener and then there are other issues as a result of that.
I’ve overheard you talking about your background with customers before. You turned down an offer to play football in Brazil in order to start this business, right?
Well, I’m very active in anything and everything I do. I put my full heart into it. I played football in high school and J.C. in college, then I kept playing when I went to culinary school. So I’ve been playing for 19 years. I took some time off when I was in Spain and had to take a break when I worked for UPS, but I was playing semi-pro football again. We had two days’ practice a week and games on Saturday plus we all pretty much had full time jobs. Plural — jobs — at the same time. When you play semi-pro, you’re exposed to the CFL, NFL, and also the European Football League and groups like that. So, yeah, they wanted to pick me up in Brazil, but my wife got pregnant and I wanted to focus more on my career. Like I said: My mom and I put our heads together about a business and eventually we ended up opening Outlaw Donuts. And we’ve got another kiddo on the way now that’ll be our third.
Any surprises along the way opening the business?
I don’t think we had any shockers. We’ve been fortunate, and I know in other restaurants there’s always something. I guess we didn’t realize how time-consuming it was going to be. It took all of our time the first two or three months. There were days I wasn’t able to see my kids, which was hard, but we’re past that point now. I knew that the kitchen was always going to end up getting messy. I knew that, “if you build it, they will come.”
What’s your favorite donut?
I don’t really eat them. (Laughs.) I do enjoy a maple bar every now and then. Blueberry donuts are probably my favorite.
Outlaw Donuts is open 6 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at 414 W. Goodwin St., 928-379-5606, OutlawDonutsInc.Com.
James Dungeon is a figment of his own imagination. And he likes cats. Contact him at JamesDungeoCats@Gmail.Com.