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Starters: Fry Baby's vegan doughnuts are worth a try

Ann Hogan has a good problem on her hands.

The owner of Fry Baby Donuts, at 336 S. Elmwood Ave., is trying to find a smooth way to expand the days and hours she's open, a testament to the popularity of Buffalo's first vegan doughnut shop over its first three months of business.

Now, handmade doughnuts are made and sold just three days each week - 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, or as long as there are doughnuts available; stay tuned to their Facebook page to find out when the desserts are gone.

"It's tough to stop and reflect [on the three months]," said Hogan, who worked previously at the Lexington Co-Op, which remains the source for many of her ingredients. "When we opened, we weren't sure if anyone would come, but then we had a line out the door on the first day.

Fry Baby is owned by Ann Hogan, left, who poses with a co-worker outside the shop on Aug. 24, 2017. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

"We didn't expect to be figuring out how to grow this soon," she admitted.

Hogan doesn't want to limit her market to vegans - she wants the doughnuts to taste "as not vegan as possible," she said - but the decision to not use milk and eggs in the recipe caught the attention of WNYVegans.com, a proven resource for the niche community of eaters.

Curious passersby on diverse South Elmwood peek their heads in, Hogan says, which has been another source of attention.

Fry Baby's flavors change weekly, and there are usually five new varieties with one standby, the trusty apple fritter. Trumpeting ideas from bubblegum to root beer float upon opening, Hogan has followed through - Fry Baby's Instagram will tempt you with each week's lineup.

"I loved the idea of bubblegum," said Hogan, who employs six people at the shop. "It represents what Fry Baby is. [The doughnut] actually tastes like bubblegum as you eat it. Some people are wary before they try.

"And swallowing it feels a little wrong," she added with a chuckle.

One doughnut costs $2, six run for $11 and a dozen go for $22. Here's the take of a content carnivore's whirlwind tour through five different doughnuts - the fudge sundae flavor had sold out by our 2 p.m. visit.

The vanilla sprinkled doughnut, left, and chocolate sprinkled doughnut from Fry Baby. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

Vanilla sprinkled doughnut, left: My favorite of this pair because the gentle vanilla frosting allowed the doughnut's freshness and flavor to stick out - a touch of nutmeg was noticed by a second eater.

You'll notice the dough is a little spongy in texture, a likely product of the absence of milk and eggs, but there's also a reassurance by mowing through the dough that you're eating made by hand. As a few social media commenters have pointed out, the lack of grease is one of the most refreshing parts of a vegan doughnut.

Chocolate sprinkled doughnut, right: The rich chocolate will jump out at you. If you're a chocolate lover, this likely won't pose a problem.

The very popular apple fritter from Fry Baby. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

Apple fritter: The fritter deserves a photo by itself because, by consensus (yes, the office got to sample some), it was the tastiest of the lot. Good crunch on the outside and soft on the inside, although there were some mild complaints about the after taste.

Fry Baby's Mint Ting-A-Ling doughnut, left, and the Creamsicle flavor. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

Mint Ting-A-Ling, left: One of the more adventurous flavors - and certainly the most eye-catching of this batch - the mint-chocolate doughnut is a bit more astringent than the Perry's Ice Cream flavor by the same name, but the Oreo crumbs on top add a nice crunch.

Creamsicle: How Fry Baby pulled off the tasty vegan cream (sounds like it should be an oxymoron) is a secret I'd want to steal if I were vegan, as the puffy mound is unquestionably the highlight of this option. It was a valiant effort at matching the Creamsicle flavor, but it's not quite there.

Here's a map of where Fry Baby dwells:

And here's what it looks like from the outside:

Fry Baby Donuts has been open on South Elmwood Avenue since June. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

And here's about the most Millennial of all Millennial doughnut pictures ever taken:

The tray of Creamsicle doughnuts from Fry Baby. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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