Dirty Donuts, back in action

After a house fire, the local independent pastry maker is finding her footing again

by Patrick Maloney


It’s been a tough few weeks for the guerilla baker who goes by the name of Dirty Donuts. When her house, which she shared with local hip-hop artists Astronautalis, Spyder Baybie Raw Dog and La Manchita, caught fire in January, Vicki Seymour lost a significant portion of her possessions, including her donut-making equipment.

“I’d been building up Dirty Donuts for about a year-and-a-half, and I was buying my ingredients in bulk,” Seymour said. “I lost everything and had to start over. I’m starting to get back on my feet.”

Seymour, who keeps her civilian identity under wraps, has been popping up at local hip-hop shows since August 2011, cloaked in black hoodies and sunglasses, bearing homemade donuts for concert-goers to indulge in for a suggested donation.

Last month, the Sound Gallery hosted a benefit concert entitled “Burning Down the House” for the victims, who didn’t have renters’ insurance and suffered a tremendous financial hit. Headlining the show was Mike Mictlan, supported by some of the displaced artists and a few local acts. The event raised enough to help Seymour revamp her operation.

“It was probably the most packed and profitable party that the Sound Gallery has ever had,” she said. “People really came out and supported us, raised enough money for me to get a new place to live and buy new stuff for Dirty Donuts to get it started again.”

Luckily, she’s still got a respectable Twitter following and has, in some circles, already attained the status of an urban legend.

The operation started with a distant rumble. Astronautalis cryptically tweeted “my friends are hatching a plan,” followed by a few mentions by Doomtree’s P.O.S. and Mictlan.

“I was joking around with my friends about something to do with this old tour van. We were saying we should sell something illegal out of the back of it, something dirty,” she said. “In that moment, I thought of the name Dirty Donuts.”

A couple write-ups in local media and several hundred Twitter followers later, Seymour started receiving invitations to events across the cities.

Usually, the only notice preceding her arrival is a tweet a few hours before a show, and her wares often sell out within minutes of her arrival.

While her moniker may discourage some, the pastries themselves are gourmet. Glazes include strawberry, lemon and maple-bacon.

“I was kind of unsatisfied with baked goods options in Minneapolis. The donuts that I’d liked the most were the ones from gas stations, which were really gross,” she said. “I wanted to make really high-quality donuts. I use all organic ingredients … but also have them be just as available and cheap as a gas station donut.”

The guerilla operation, as impressive as it seems, is the means, not the end.

“This is an ongoing fundraiser for what I really want to do,” Seymour said. “Stay tuned. I have big plans for the future.”