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Whimsical New Vegan Doughnut Truck Plans to Make Ballard Debut in May

Dough Joy comes from the duo behind Outbound Herbivore

The colorful Dough Joy food truck, painted with various doughnuts on the side along with the business’s name
Dough Joy touts its yeast-raised doughnuts and completely dairy-free menu.
Courtesy of Dough Joy

Ballard’s about to get a new food truck that should appeal to vegans. Dough Joy — a new doughnut purveyor that makes its yeast-raised goods without any dairy products — is planning to set up shop sometime in May at 5401 17th Avenue NW.

Dough Joy’s co-owners Christopher Ballard and Sean Willis run Outbound Herbivore, a Seattle-based brand and self-published magazine that showcases vegan food in the area. It once hosted a number of events, mini markets, and dinner parties, but adjusted the strategy over the past year. “Since COVID slowed down that aspect of what we were planning to do, we revisited our mission of how we can make a positive impact in our community, which ultimately led to Dough Joy,” says Willis.

The idea for the truck came out of a conversation with fellow vegan business owner Keaton Tucker, who runs Cycle Dogs. Tucker recently shifted from a mobile operation to its first-ever fixed location (which will be right across the street from Dough Joe when it opens this spring), and had a truck to spare.

But Willis says he and his partner Ballard didn’t have any baking experience, so there was a lot of trial and error while getting the business ready. Making doughnuts without milk or eggs is a painstaking process, but the replacements they used resulted in a satisfying texture after months of recipe testing, Willis says.

Mainly, though, the duo wanted to have fun with the toppings, and landed on some whimsical creations, including the Basic B (a vegan version of a classic glazed), Petal To The Metal (floral flavors with pink marbled icing), and the Faconator (maple icing topped with smoky coconut “bacon”). Willis tells Eater Seattle there are no extracts in any of the frostings, and he’s particularly proud of the faux bacon bits on the Faconator, which could be “eaten on their own.”

A vegan doughnut glazed with pink frosting
The rose-flavored Petal to the Metal
Courtesy of Dough Joy

Dough Joy’s small kitchen may limit how many doughnuts the operation can produce, so Willis says they are “focusing on quality over quantity.” And Dough Joy will open not just early in the morning, but in the evening, too, for those looking for dessert after dinner. On the drinks side, customers can expect caramel, mocha, and lavender lattes, with ingredients sourced locally and syrups made onsite.

While Seattle does have other vegan doughnut options, most notably Mighty-O, the pair are emphasizing that every single item on the menu is free of animal products — Mighty-O, for instance, still offers dairy for beverages. “While many may see that as a small issue or a non-issue, we’re proud to embrace the fact we’re fully plant-based in all aspects of the business and know that the vegan community will also receive it well,” Willis says.