Baltimore native Mike Roslan, 44, a former tattoo artist, opened Diablo Doughnuts on Broadway in Fells Point in October 2015, sharing a tiny space with Hot Tomatoes Pizza. Plans for the new year are to set up a seating area in the back room and to begin serving cold-brewed nitro coffee by the cup or growler from kegs delivered by a company in New York.
>> What makes your doughnuts unique? Our doughnut style is totally different. They’re not going to fall apart when you rip into them. They’re not mostly air, and they’re not very sweet—more like bread. Everything we do, we make by hand. Take the blackberry glaze. It’s blackberries pureed, powdered sugar and corn syrup. Someone said the pink was food coloring. If you take a blackberry and smash it, it’s pink. I said, come here, man, I’ll stain you. I’m self-taught, a little trial and error.
>> You’re from the ‘hood? I grew up on the 700 block of Ann Street. My uncle owned Pete’s Tavern. I went to St. Stanislaus. That’s why I enjoy this small style, doing your own thing. When I was growing up, there were certain days a week you went out and did your shopping. On every corner there was a bar or bakery. You went to Ostrowski’s for your sausage, you went to Kenwood bakery for your hot cross buns, another bakery for your peach pie. Broadway Market was for vegetables, Monument Market for other things.
>> So now all you guys in Fells Point are doing the same thing, only with doughnuts and pies? Kelly [Blottenberger] at Latte Da, Drew [Pumphrey] from the Smoking Swine, Rodney Henry from Dangerously Delicious Pies, Sarah [Simington] from Blue Moon. All those guys influenced me; they all give me advice when I need it.
>> Does Blue Moon serve your doughnuts? We did a doughnut shell, grilled with gravy and bacon. It was our version of biscuits and gravy.
>> You were a tattoo artist before you started the doughnut business? I was a tattoo artist for years. I’m pretty well covered. My front is still open.
>> Rodney Henry, the rock musician-turned-pie man is a mentor? I remember hearing a comedian. I’m pretty sure it was Chris Rock. He said if you want to do something and succeed, follow the people who have done it. Get the same manager, do what they do, follow their steps, mimic everything. I like Rodney’s style. You put yourself out there, talk to people, promote the hell out of yourself. When I go out, I’m the doughnut guy, the way Rodney is the pie guy.