Vincent Van Doughnut

A family based food truck brings its artisanal donuts to their first storefront location in downtown Clayton.

Camille Respess, Editor-in-Chief

Van Gogh: one of the most famous artists that has ever lived. Five years ago, brother-in-laws, Vincent Marsden and Will Saulsbery wanted to emulate the artistry that Van Gogh exhibited. But with a little twist; their medium was donuts.

Vincent Van Doughnut has brought their donuts and various other pastries to Clayton with the opening of their first ground location in mid-March.

The bakery offers handmade donuts made from scratch daily in their kitchen. In addition to the staple, a glazed donut, Vincent Van Doughnut also supplies a more creative form of the product. A customer favorite, the French Toast, made with a yeast raised donut, has a maple and cinnamon glaze and is topped with nuts and powdered sugar.

Besides the array of donuts, the shop has other breakfast styled treats available to their customers. “We have cinnamon rolls made from scratch. We also make [toaster pastries] from scratch, which are really awesome,” co-owner Will Saulsbery said. “We have a bacon chocolate and a maple cinnamon [toaster pastry].”

After a few years of planning and many hours in their kitchen testing the product, Vincent Van Doughnut was able to start their business, mobily. “Back in August of 2013, we got some funds together to start things up and [Vincent’s] sister, Monica, found a food truck out in Denver,” Saulsberry said. “This all started out with the truck. That’s when everything really started going.”

For the past year and a half, the family based company has been running their food truck, named Clyde, around the St. Louis area.

“The food truck just seemed like it was a good way to see if there was a demand for this kind of product here, in St. Louis,” Saulsbery said.

Clyde goes out 3-4 times a week to various spots in the St. Louis area. The truck is also available for reservation for special events. Clyde has gone to Sauce’s Food Truck Friday and Shaw Park’s Food Truck Sundays, both held during from late spring to early fall.

Last November, Vincent Van Doughnut decided that their sales were high enough to begin the process of opening a storefront location. “The process was basically: go to the banks, get loans, get permits and contracts and things like that,” Saulsbery said.

The owners strive to offer their customers a unique form of a classic, the donut.

“We want to show people that we are doing something different,” Saulsbery said. “The medium, donuts, it’s been around forever. But we want to do something different, elevate it, take it to a different level of creativity.”

Saulsbery believes that the style in which Vincent Van Doughnut crafts their donuts is what separates them from the other doughnut based bakeries. “We [make our donuts] at a different, elevated way from other shops,” Saulsbery said. “Other shops have great dounuts, great classic donuts and great crazy donuts. But ours are more refined.”

The beginning stages of the process of taking the ideas for their handmade donuts to fruition was a family affair for Vincent Van Doughnut.

“It was all testing in the kitchen. Basically just an idea of any dessert we want and I’d say, ‘Hey, it’d be great to have a German Chocolate Cake donut.’ And we’d test it. [Vincent] would come up with an idea, or his sister, or his son,”’ Saulsbery said.

The family orientated ideology of the business comes from Vincent Van Marsden, son of co-owner Vincent Marsden. Vincent Van, the taste tester of the company, was another basis behind the name of the food truck and bakery. “It’s a family business, so we like when families come in with their kids to hang out,” Saulsbery said.

Vincent Van Doughnut’s current hours of operation are Tuesday-Sunday 6:00 am-2:00 pm, or until the product runs out. The business hopes to soon be able to open 7 days a week and to also open 9:00 pm-12:00 am on Friday and Saturday, in addition to the hours already in place.

The business aspires to continue expanding their craft.“We’d love to keep growing. When we have this location running as well as possible, we want to open up other locations in the metro area and beyond,” Saulsbery said.

Vincent Van Doughnut aims to have the familial aspect of their business translate to their patrons. “We want our customers to feel welcomed and comfortable in the nice space they have to hang out in,” Saulsbery said. “We want them to feel like they’re a part of the family.”

Some of the donuts offered at Vincent Van Donuts.
Katherine Sleckman
Some of the donuts offered at Vincent Van Donuts.