Why a Columbus Donut Shop Owner Traded Corporate Burnout for Baking

When it comes to donuts, it’s all about the dough for Katie Passo. It’s right there in her business’ name—Rose Dough Donuts—along with a nod to Passo’s great-grandmother, Rose.

Rose Dough sells three kinds of donuts. The first is brioche, which Passo describes as “a cross between a pastry and a bread.” Up next is the old-fashioned, a double-fried cake donut that’s “crunchy on the outside and moist and cakelike on the inside.” And finally, the French cruller, a light, hand-piped donut similar to a cream puff.

What tops the dough is just as interesting. Creative flavors like Blueberry Lavender, Tiki Mai Tai and Fresh Strawberry Habanero sit comfortably next to classics like the Sprinkle Brioche and the Chocolate Old-Fashioned.

A Tiki Mai Tai donut from Rose Dough Donuts, which Katie Passo launched in January 2022

Passo learned how to make her fried creations during the early days of the pandemic when she and her husband, Brad, were craving the sweet treats. At the time, the couple were living in Chicago, and Passo had recently left a career in corporate public relations. Feeling burnt out, she sought relief in baking and took a course with The French Pastry School.

“I just started thinking, ‘If I could bake every day, I think I would be happy,'” Passo recalls. In March 2021, she told her husband they should move back to Columbus in one year and start Rose Dough Donuts. The pandemic sped that timeline up and brought the couple home last July. Passo launched her company in January.

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