An internet marketing entrepreneur turned donut mogul, Scott Kirkpatrick had a realization during the pandemic that he didn’t want an office job any longer.
Instead, he wanted to create something that brought happiness, and that was physical and real.
Then he had an epiphany in a donut shop: “One cannot be unhappy when buying a donut.”
He and his wife, Steliyana, opened Rock N Roll Donut Bar on Cannery Row in May 2022 and a Santa Cruz location on Pacific Avenue last month. Currently offering take-out only with on-site seating coming soon, hours are Mon-Thurs 11am-4pm, Fri-Sun 11am-7pm (or until sold out).
With the slogan “big, bold and beautiful donuts,” the menu is headlined by the Strawberry Shortcake and the Coffee Cake Mocha, Kirkpatrick’s personal fave for the way the chocolate, cinnamon and coffee notes harmonize perfectly. Other hits include Death by Chocolate, the not-so-sweet Blackberry Cream Cheese and one that’s banana-filled and topped with toasted coconut.
Tell me your business’s origin story?
SCOTT KIRKPATRICK: It was during the dead center of the pandemic and the world really felt like a terrible place. I had family visiting and we went to a donut shop and were trying to find humor in the moment, in spite of the world being shut down. I told my family, “When this is over, I want to create something with my hands instead of my brain and literally sell happiness and bring joy.” Then we ordered our donuts, and that was my aha moment and I knew that this was exactly how I wanted to give people a 6-7 minute break from the world and bring that happiness.
What differentiates you?
SK: It’s not just donuts, it’s about building a brand experience. That experience is about maximizing those few minutes of happiness when you’re with us. It starts with the donut playing guitar outside, continues with the décor inside, and when the customers see the donuts, they really go crazy and are in awe. They sarcastically ask, “What’s wrong with you people?” And then we have a laugh, chat for a minute and they leave happy as a pig in mud.
1335 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, 831-264-6555; rocknrolldonutbar.com