Inside an ordinary bleach-white warehouse in Little Haiti, three aproned workers covered in flour carefully line up warm batches of freshly fried dough.
Anna Davis, a 29-year-old blonde with wide ocean-blue eyes, nervously stands over a silver tray of 24 doughnuts. Her trembling right hand hovers a centimeter from a pastry topped with a mountain of vegan coconut-chocolate ganache. She delicately lowers a quarter-size baked banana chip onto the frosting and then gently nudges it higher.
“It’s all about details,” she says.
Max Santiago, a lanky, bohemian 41-year-old fond of using bandannas to tie up his straggly brown hair, lets out a sigh. The Salty Donut’s executive chef isn’t happy with the banana chip’s final resting place.
“I want it angled,” he says firmly. “The angle is going to set us apart.”
Davis admits she has spent two weeks trying to master banana-chip placement. “I’m a perfectionist,” she says. “But I learned about a different level of perfection here. It adds pressure, but it’s why we’re so successful.”
It might seem like a lot of effort for a doughnut. But Santiago believes that intense attention on detail is the reason a line of customers wraps around the Salty Donut’s Wynwood storefront three days a week.
“We’re a fine-dining, gourmet dessert,” Santiago adds. “The second someone bites into one of our doughnuts, they can tell the difference. We’re not like other doughnut shops.”
At the Salty Donut, Davis and a dozen other pastry chefs handcraft upward of 6,000 four-inch doughnuts every Thursday through Sunday.