This is a new series spotlighting Black entrepreneurs who are elevating Fort Worth creativity and business. Meet Melvin Roberson, owner of Dough Boy Donuts, and Franklin Moss, Jr., owner of Franklin & Anthony.
Melvin Roberson - Dough Boy Donuts
4910 Camp Bowie Blvd
Thursday – Sunday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Melvin Roberson founded Dough Boy Donuts –– the first gourmet donut truck in Fort Worth and all of North Texas –– in 2015. By 2018, he had his brick-and-mortar location in west Fort Worth going, and people began to rave about the product: home-style yeast donuts glazed to order when you’re at the counter. We caught up with the donut entrepreneur and had him explain what he calls “The Dough Boy Difference.”
What kind of formal training do you have?
MR: I’ve been a service industry lifer. I started as a host and a busboy at Razoo’s in 1999. With the exception of general manager, I’ve held every position you can in a restaurant. I made a decision to invest in myself and get into management, and I became the Kitchen Manager at the Keg Steakhouse in Plano for three years. In 2015, I started making donuts at home and selling them under the Texas Cottage Food Law.
What gave you the idea for gourmet donuts?
MR: At the time I was following a group of guys on social media, and they went to Strange Donuts (a franchise in St. Louis that offers both traditional and wildly flavored donuts). There was nothing available in Fort Worth like that –– yeast donuts made 100% from scratch, nothing from a box or a bag. After I started making donuts my parents thought I was crazy because I’ve never made donuts on that scale, but my restaurant industry experience saw me through.
I tried four or five recipes, and combined the things I liked. My aunt is a pastry chef so there was a lot of recipe tasting. Dough Boy Donuts are old-fashioned, yeast-raised donuts that are proofed with all real ingredients and no preservatives. And they’re dressed to order when you order them.
Why a donut truck?
MR: I had a stand mixer, a donut fryer, and bags of flour, and my wife was like…when is this stuff getting out of my kitchen? I thought that the food truck option was the easy way. I was wrong (chuckling).
Donut and beer pairings - how did that come about?
MR: Yeah, yeast with more yeast (chuckles again). People were skeptical at first about pairing something sweet with beer. We worked with Rahr & Sons, and I had a glaze made with Rahr beer. I’ve also worked with the (now former) Collective Brewing Project and Grapevine Craft Brewing.
The Ugly Pug goes with a S’more donut (chocolate glazed topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and a toasted marshmallow). And the Bam Bam (cream cheese glaze topped with Fruity Pebbles cereal) goes with Rahr Blonde or the Adios Pantalones.
How did you weather the COVID-19 closings?
MR: COVID made me revamp – there’s no blueprint for this. How do we do the right thing? How do we not put ourselves and our guests at risk? I started neighborhood delivery with pre-packaged donuts and coffee, and we drove to various neighborhoods for a while. We are minimizing the number of people in the store, and there’s still curbside pickup if people want.
Despite COVID, business is doing well. I’ve had to hire people to get hands in the restaurant (the donuts are made fresh several times each shift).
What’s your favorite restaurant when you’re not eating donuts?
MR: (without hesitation) Smoke-A-Holics. I like their BBQ, ribs and mac ‘n’ cheese. The beans are good. So is the cornbread.
Franklin Moss Jr. - Franklin & Anthony and Social Influencer
2800 Yeager Street
By appointment/consultation only.
Franklin (Frank) Moss, Jr. turned his love of culture, rap music and fashion into a full-time business. Moss is a clothier, sartorialist and trendsetter running a bespoke suit company. Since 2015, Franklin & Anthony has catered to both classic and fashion-forward tastes.
What is a clothier?
FM: Someone who helps people pick out fabrics related to who they are, and their personality, who works with them and body type, someone who leads them to take chances with fabrics or colors.
How did you become one?
FM: When I was little I wanted to be a writer. Before this I worked in the fashion world. I used to be a rapper, then I became assistant stylist for fashion shows.
I want to elevate my (personal) clothing – that means custom suits. I apprenticed for another company for a year, where I learned how to measure people for suits. There are a few (clothiers) that have been around for a long time. We’re a little more modern and adapted to today’s trends.
What have you discovered as you’ve broken out on your own?
FM: Fort Worth is very laid back. People don’t generally wear suits; they like comfortable attire. It’s a little difficult to find people who understand the value of a good suit. But we’re learning our audience. We’ve been pushing toward lawyers, real estate agents – the people who wear suits – and customizing blazers and button down shirts.
What’s the biggest misperception about your industry?
FM: Our prices. People think custom suits are $1,500 to $2,000. Our $800 starting prices are comparable to what’s on the mass market, and our quality and fabrics are better than what you can get on the general market. It takes between four and five weeks to go from the consult and measuring to the tailoring fitting. We have all audiences and different clients, from high school age to men in their 70s.
Do you make women’s clothing as well?
FM: We make both business and lifestyle suits for women. Dresses are a whole other thing that we don’t want to deal with (laughing). There are 15 additional measurements that you need to do for a woman’s suit to make sure it will fit right all the time.
Tell us about this look -- a formal suit jacket with shorts.
FM: That does age back a bit, it is a more modern take on classic short pants. That’s why it’s in the lifestyle section. We do things that are different and more comfortable. We also teach people the differences between a summer suit and a winter suit.
OK, so what are those differences?
FM: For a summer suit, we’d look at linen fabric from India that’s thick, but light and breathable. It’s completely deconstructed with no pads, maybe a light lining, and it fits well. Unless you’re a super sweater – light is dangerous because there’s a lack of layers to stop sweating. For someone who needs a little more, we’d look at linen or canvas with a light lining.
For a winter suit we use a fabric that’s between 320 to 420 grams like tweed or tartan, fully lined, lightly padded.
So, is there anything ready-to-wear available?
FM: We have face masks that are four-layer, which is a good mask for people with glasses. Those are $15 for the adult size. We’re working on getting both custom and ready-made shoes, slippers and loafers because that’s my favorite shoe. I believe in selling what I like.
Facebook groups like DFW Black-Owned Restaurants have made it easier for small, family-owned restaurants and food businesses to thrive. Show your support and shop local.