Before a band gets their name painted on one of the stars lining the exterior of First Avenue, it’s written in icing on a star-shaped pastry from Glam Doll Donuts.
The Minneapolis doughnut shop has been a staple of artists’ backstage diets for the past two years. Six months after opening in February 2013, Glam Doll provided eats for the artists at the Soundset music festival in Canterbury Park.
First Avenue soon caught wind, and Glam Doll has provided doughnuts for every artist to grace the main stage since — a duty co-owners Teresa Fox and Arwyn Birch describe as a dream.
“Growing up in Minnesota, First Ave is the be-all and end-all of music venues,” Fox said.
She and Birch attended their first show together at the venue when they were 15 years old.
“It was Insane Clown Posse,” Birch said. She still has her Faygo-stained ticket stub from that night.
On Nov. 5, the Glam Doll owners will hand-deliver doughnuts to Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope when the hip-hop duo returns to the main room.
“We’ve come full circle,” Fox said, laughing.
A delectable creation
Prior to opening Glam Doll, Fox and Birch spent much of their time waitressing.
Fox majored in music business, and Birch pursued fashion design; however, both industries proved difficult to break into.
“We tried the LA thing,” Fox said. “It definitely wasn’t our cup of tea.”
Upon moving back to Minneapolis, the two noticed the lack of doughnut shops in the Twin Cities, and they decided to remedy that.
Fox and Birch both loved food and were passionate about their time spent working in the restaurant industry. Furthermore, Fox always liked to bake, though she never thought she’d open a bakery of her own.
“We were always about art, music and vintage fashion,” she said, so they funneled those passions into what would become Glam Doll Doughnuts.
Making the doughnuts
A couple months after Glam Doll opened, Minneapolis band Night Moves posted a tweet asking if the shop would make them a personalized doughnut. Fox and Birch were both fans of the band’s album, so they agreed.
Like every doughnut in the shop, Night Moves’ began in the concept phase, where the owners brainstormed the flavors they wanted in the pastry. After a couple of trials, the finished product — a frosted cake doughnut with blackberry jam, blackberry Hennessy and brown sugar bits — hit the shelves and became a permanent item on the menu.
Since Night Moves, Glam Doll introduced personalized doughnuts for other local artists. Jeremy
Messersmith got a wasabi coconut doughnut called the Hot Messersmith. For Doomtree rapper P.O.S., the shop created a flaky biscuit doughnut that came with a side of gravy.
Although neither Messersmith’s nor P.O.S.’ doughnut remain on the menu, their presence is felt when Fox and Birch discuss the future of Glam Doll.
“Expect savory,” Birch said.
‘Where is my doughnut box?’
For bands, a box of Glam Doll Donuts has become almost as ubiquitous of a show in Minneapolis as First Avenue itself.
Fox estimates at least 60 percent of bands that play the First Avenue main room will post their doughnuts on their Twitter or Instagram feeds.
When the Flaming Lips played First Avenue, singer Wayne Coyne was so excited about the doughnuts backstage that one of the employees at the venue reached out to Glam Doll and told the shop to do something special when the band returned to Minneapolis.
“So then we just went balls out, you know?” Birch said.
During the Lips’ most recent show, Fox and Birch were delivering the doughnuts when Coyne approached them.
“He’s like, ‘Oh, you guys are amazing! You got to be in my video!’ And we’re, like, hanging out with Wayne Coyne all of a sudden,” Birch said.
Coyne brought the two back where he was filming.
“He was all like, ‘Um, we were expecting to film people on drugs...’ and I’m like, ‘It’s three in the afternoon! We’re just dropping off doughnuts! I’m not on drugs; it’s too early!” Fox said, laughing.
Glam Doll’s reputation extends far beyond the First Avenue stage. They have made doughnuts for Miley Cyrus and, recently, the Rolling Stones — both in exchange for concert tickets for Fox, Birch and members of their staff.
Whenever Doomtree has something big brewing, Glam Doll is always amongst the area businesses the local rap collective partners with to help get the word out.
“[Fox and Birch have] been a badass pair of entrepreneurs whose work ethic is really easy to admire from the perspective of an independent musician,” said Dessa, a member of Doomtree.
For last year’s Doomtree Blowout, Glam Doll made a giant doughnut representing the number of tickets to the event. Then Dessa ate the doughnut on camera in sync with how quickly the tickets were sold. Doomtree posted the videos to Instagram, giving fans an instant way to see how many tickets were left to the show.
“To come from where we were never quite finding our grasp in the professional world ... and to find this and have it work out so well, to be involved in [music] by making doughnuts is mind-blowing to us,” Fox said.
Birch nodded and, without a hint of irony, she said, “We’re living the dream.”