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From Popup to Beloved Donut Shop: One Ring

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One Ring keeps customers coming back for more

Writer and photographer Jacey Hammond

Amy Cohen and Kiera Carman must have known something Ithacans didn’t. Though this quaint college town has no lack of bakeries, cafes or coffee shops, it had never seen artisan donuts like those at One Ring Donuts.

“Ithaca felt like the perfect place to open a donut shop,” says co-owner Amy Cohen. “We felt we could bring locally-made, seasonally-inspired donuts to our community and also create an inclusive space for people to hang out.”

Cohen runs the business side of things and gives Carmen credit for the innovation in the kitchen.

“She makes all the donut magic happen every day! We often enjoy having dreamy conversations about flavors to produce, what would be interesting and delicious and adventurous—what inspires us based on the seasons or food trends,” she says.

One Ring is known for their signature flavors; raspberry lemonade, Thai tea, vanilla, and chocolate – as well as rotating monthly flavors like February’s chocolate peanut butter, savory maple bacon, vegan maple, and a bright gluten-free lemon poppyseed.

Unlike most traditional flour and yeast donut recipes, this one starts with a potato base.

“Potato donuts are amazing because of the natural fluff and the moisture that the potato provides,” says Cohen.

The dough is made from scratch every morning, then refrigerated overnight. After the dense, yet fluffy dough is proved, the donuts are fried and glazed around 5 a.m.

One Ring Donuts started as a concept that Carmen and Cohen pitched at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s Race for the Space Contest in December 2018. The pair didn’t win but as a runner-up they received some funding for their eventual space.

After the contest, the two women kept up momentum by hosting weekly pop-ups in Press Bay alley, working out of a rented commercial kitchen.

“We always intended to have a brick and mortar store,” says Cohen. “But due to construction delays the space wasn’t ready when we originally thought – so we went the pop up route.”

That permanent space opened on West Green Street in September 2019 in the nearby Press Bay Court. There was a line down the block on opening day and the pace hasn’t let up, as donuts often sell out within hours. Because of this success Cohen and Carman have expanded their hours and the baking team often makes two batches a day.

Cohen and Carmen are both thrilled with the responses they’ve received from the community.

“I think our growth so far is due to our hard work, diligence, listening to our community, having a clear business plan, and seeking support from other business owners who can guide us,” Cohen says.

Their latest success is a specialty brioche donut offered every Tuesday. The flavor is announced on social media and only available that day.

“It’s very fun to make something limited edition and experimental,” says Cohen. “We like rewarding our super dedicated followers who show up for the special brioche with something super new, different, and decadent.”

Their most recent brioche flavor was a cannoli cream, while an earlier Nutella version created a little donut mania. With only four dozen made, loyal donut lovers were sprinting downtown to get one in time.

Not one to sit on their success, the donut company has a new partnership with Ithaca College and hopes to create donuts for special events and weddings.

“We have many goals we still want to meet,” Cohen claims. “This is just the beginning!”

114 W Green St. Ithaca, oneringdonuts.com

Jacey Hammond is a junior journalism major at Ithaca College and this semester’s editorial intern at Edible Finger Lakes. This Jersey girl loves to write, sing, bake, cook and explore the food scene in the FLX.

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