“It seemed like this was something that everybody was so excited for, ready for. The community has supported us every step of the way. And somehow… this happened.“
I first walked into the warm, glazed interior of Guru Donuts in downtown Boise’s Idanha building for the first time at six in the morning. The crisp air had just a hint of autumn, and nothing in the world sounded better than a warm, gooey pastry — or five. Fortunately, the grand wooden doors opened up into an inviting space where the smell of fresh dough was a warm, friendly welcome as soon as I walked in, delightfully soothing to a bleary-eyed and famished guest.
Husband and wife owners, Kevin and Angel Moran, built their thriving doughnut shop from the ground up, but their success story is one of community, learning, and diving headfirst into a business venture that — to anyone on the outside — appears utterly ridiculous. A fusion artisan doughnut shop in Boise, Idaho? It was certainly light-years away from the media business world from which the two came.
But while the journey from corporate California to pastry perfection in the City of Trees was unexpected, the two have no regrets.
“Doing this felt right,” Kevin says.
A Community Comes Together
The Morans left the security of their long-term jobs in the music industry to move to Boise. Kevin admits that the idea of opening a doughnut shop in Idaho was never on his radar, but that once the pieces began falling into place, it was clear that the City of Trees was ready for the pastry big leagues. “There was never a business plan. But there was so much community support — it’s incredible, really.”
Portland has Voodoo, why not Guru in Boise?
From a random Craigslist search (“I literally just typed in “doughnut” to see what would come up,” Kevin says, laughing), to local generosity, advice, and encouragement, the Morans’ sweet venture quickly gained momentum and within months the couple outgrew their original home pop-up doughnut shop. But the changes didn’t stop there, and the journey has just recently landed the couple a space in one of the most coveted and historic buildings in Boise.
“We spent two years just kind of throwing out random names and joking, ‘Wouldn’t it be so great to just leave our jobs and make doughnuts all day?'”
Today, their perfectly-sized shop is a dream come true and a welcome addition to BoDo.
The “Doughnut Master” at Work
You’ve never truly baked anything until you’re up to your literal eyeballs in sweet-smelling dough at 4am, clocking those highly underappreciated “baker’s hours” that only a special, passionate few can endure.
But it was the process that fascinated me, personally.
From a soft, mushy ball of dough that was left to rise hours before I stumbled into the kitchen, to a behemoth doughball that I’m sure weighed more than I did, to the final product — it was such a relaxed and natural rhythm that one would think Kevin had been doing this his whole life. Then came the rolling, the aerating (courtesy of an unnamed but terrifying-looking rolling pin crossed with a medieval torture device), the setting, the frying, the flipping, the decorating…
And then the final product.
Unlike so many other bakeries and modern food establishments today, Guru makes their doughnuts entirely from scratch from start to finish, utilizing local businesses and growers to supply their ingredients.
“I really think you can taste the difference; there’s something awesome about knowing where your product comes from. It’s worth it,” Kevin explains.
From flour milled in the Palouse to strawberries raised by Guru’s very own “Strawberry Lady,” fresh ingredients and local consciousness comes through in the final product, which has an equally loyal following that continues to grow. “We put love into them, so we get the love from our customers.”
But of course, Kevin isn’t at it alone — one man and a dream couldn’t possibly craft up to 6.000 doughnuts a day from scratch! A young team of quick-learners and the wonderfully bubbly and creative Angel are just as involved in the process from start to finish.
“We met working together, so we have this natural dynamic,” Kevin says. “Whether making records or making doughnuts, to be able to spend that time together is precious.”
But while the basic process for making Guru’s delightfully fluffy doughnuts hasn’t changed much since the 1800s when the original pastry was first invented, Guru’s unique fusion flavors and vegan options are a novelty that fits perfectly with the Boise community’s vibrant lifestyle. Each new doughnut is carefully selected, developed, and named, including the original Hipster Berry — Guru’s iconic doughnut.
Today, the Morans are determined to stay true to the vital community that has been their greatest gift from day one. For Guru, that includes hosting the Rediscovered Books “Tasty Tales” every week, supporting other local businesses, and fostering the small town connections that make Boise such a special city. “We’re really just trying to find our kindred spirits and grow alongside them.”
Would they trade it for anything? The answer is a definite no.
“Going from the hustle and ‘trying to make money’ grind to immersing yourself in community and family and doughnuts — you can’t go wrong. It just doesn’t get any better,” Kevin replies.
Whether you’re craving a Matcha Latte doughnut drizzled with white chocolate, a throwback Butterscotch S’more Bismarck oozing with marshmallow meringue, or something a little more traditional, Guru Doughnuts is open daily until 4 pm, and offers a rotating selection of both vegan and non-vegan doughnuts. Visit their website at gurudonuts.com for more tasty information.
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