Sleepy V’s Vince Traver and Kiah Gumeringer have been spreading joy throughout the Twin Cities one doughnut at a time.
Sleepy V’s doughnuts, coffee and ice cream are not only attracting a crowd at the brick-and-mortar location in Northeast Minneapolis, but their creations, including a large variety of mini-doughnuts, are also popping up at such Twin Cities coffee shops as Nina’s Coffee Cafe on Cathedral Hill in St. Paul on Saturdays; Quixotic Coffee in Highland Park on Saturdays and Sundays; and daily at Mudslingers Coffee in Roseville.
And there’s more to come, as the couple hints that the east metro could become home to a second location. We chatted with Traver about the sweet life.
What’s your first food memory? I have this vague recollection of white box kits for rice pilaf. My mom always had that on hand. Another memory is Murray’s Steakhouse. My dad had a job at the Hyatt in downtown Minneapolis, and we would go to eat at this fancy restaurant when I was young.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A lot of things. I think I wanted to be a naturalist for a long time. Then when I was 13, I really wanted to do stand-up comedy. At 16, I just wanted to skateboard. That didn’t really change until when I finished college.
What was your first job in food? Making and delivering pizzas in college. I bounced around at a few pizza places, small cafes and restaurants. I did the barista thing for a bit.
How did you wind up in the restaurant business for good? It had been in the back of my mind for years. I was working as a mechanic. That was my career, career. On Fridays we would take a break and eat doughnuts. I had one with cream cheese, and I remember how savory it was. Then I remember I started eating three a day. I would see something on the Food Channel about making doughnuts and thinking it would be fun to do this full time. We were making doughnuts for things like weddings out of our little apartment kitchen for 18 long months. Finally we outgrew it and opened the storefront October 2017.
What’s the story behind the name? I’m Vince and I’m exhausted because I’ve been up all night making doughnuts. It was also kind of my fake rapper name when I was 19.
What’s your favorite item on the menu? We call it the Boxy Brown. It’s one of our large raised doughnuts. It’s cut in a square, and it’s filled with a brown butter cream filling. Then we toast granulated sugar and roll the doughnut in it. I like that one a lot. It has deep caramelizing flavors.
If you had to eat or drink only five things for the rest of your life, what would they be? Bourbon. Kimchi — I never get sick of it. Caramel — I could just sit and chew on that if I were stranded on an island. Pretty much anything on the menu at Ramen Kazama restaurant. Classics, I have to say pizza — I’ve never gotten tired of it.
What’s next? I’m hoping to shoot for three locations max. There’s nothing set in stone yet, but we’re working on a St. Paul location for 2019.