Photo by Pablo Robles

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | June 11, 2021

Valley native Alex McEntire wanted something different. As she worked a corporate job in Seattle, she filled her free time making donuts.

She played with recipes and experimented with flavors. McEntire, who grew up along the Glendale/Peoria border, was inspired by salty, savory and spicy donuts.

“I found I was having more fun with donuts than sitting behind my desk,” McEntire says.

Just before the pandemic, McEntire opened Chin Up Donuts at 7325 E. Frank Lloyd Wright, Suite 103, Scottsdale.

“The whole mission is to provide joy and positivity,” she says. “I opened during the pandemic, when the world and the community needed a little more of it.”

Chin Up Donuts is known for its Everything Bagel donut, which shares a salty, sweet combination. McEntire acknowledges it’s a little, well, questionable.

“I have to persuade a lot of people to try it,” she says with a laugh. “It’s such a fun combination that your brain gets a little confused.

“We switch up donuts with other fun flavors.”

Whoa Wasabi is a yeast-raised donut with a sweet and spicy wasabi glaze topped with a ginger-infused caramel drizzle. Sriracha-Cha, another yeast-raised donut, has a sweet and spicy Sriracha glaze, and is coated in cinnamon sugar sprinkled with red pepper flakes.

“Whatever I eat, I think about how I can turn it into a donut form,” McEntire says. “I just love pushing the boundaries of what’s found in a donut. I don’t think, inherently, they have to be sweet. The more eccentric flavors, the better. I was eating Mexican food and tried to figure out how I can turn it into a donut.”

McEntire once considered a donut with nacho cheese, glaze and Doritos, but the chip became soggy.

For National Donut Day on June 4, she has interesting collaborations with businesses favored by her guests. McEntire is partnering with Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles for a chicken and waffle donut. With Fired Pie, she’s creating a marinara-glazed donut with shredded mozzarella and pepperoni.

“I did a poll on Instagram to see who the public would like to see me collaborate wish, and it was overwhelmingly Lo-Lo’s,” she says. “So, I messaged them on Instagram, and we set it up.”

Pandemic help

Like most restaurants and bakeries, Chin Up Donuts suffered through the pandemic. However, McEntire will receive a bit of help, thanks to Vans. She was invited to partner with Vans and its “Foot the Bill” initiative. In this partnership, McEntire designed a shoe as fun merchandise for her shop and to help it grow. She received a cut of the sales of 350 shoes and about 200 T-shirts. McEntire expects to receive the money in about four weeks.

“I filled out an application and then filmed a video in the shop telling our story,” says McEntire, whose older sister, coincidentally, attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “A few weeks later, I found out I was selected to participate in it.

“I designed the shoe, both of which were available for sale. They designed the corresponding T-shirt. It was fun to design shoes. I wanted something gender neutral. I went off the branding of my boxes with stripes and cactus to tie in the Arizona roots.”

The Kellis High School graduate calls it a “fairly simple design.”

“People love the saguaro.”

McEntire says she didn’t actually think she would win but appreciates it because she could use the help after a challenging year.

“I like to say I knew what I was getting into,” she adds. “I built a business plan with projections. The business has been doing well, but we opened during the pandemic. It continues to grow, but the money can help me hire new employees to help the ones on board. It’s going to be great.” ν

Chin Up Donuts

7325 E. Frank Lloyd Wright, Suite 103, Scottsdale