Baylor grads serve innovative pastries to Waco

Photo courtesy of Nightlight Donuts

By Brooke Hill | News Editor

Croissant and donuts are both great breakfast choices, but with Nightlight donuts, you can get them both in one treat.

Nightlight donuts is a food truck in Waco, that specializes in croissant donuts. The small business is co-owned Eric Wren and his brother Jackson, who is currently attending Baylor Law School.

Eric Wren said the idea began one night three or four years ago on the way to Austin when they saw a place on the side of I-35 called Daylight donuts.

“We were like ‘Oh my gosh, we wish so badly we could just walk over and get a donut real quick.’ He pulled out his little notebook and just wrote an idea of a name called Nightlight donut,” Eric said.

The brothers also started the local business Dapper Bear, but sold it before moving to New York City. While the brothers were in New York, they lived next to a place called the Donut Pub, which had croissant donuts. Wren said they had never even heard of croissant donuts before moving to New York, but they would wake up in the middle of the night to enjoy them.

When Jackson started thinking about law school, they got the idea of creating a donut truck in Waco. Eric hired a artisan donut chef in Brooklyn to teach him everything he knew for $600.

“He just had so many different thoughts, from how to cook the dough, to how to make different glazes and even where to park around Waco because I was telling him all about the city,” Eric said.

The brothers used money from investors around the city and bought their truck out of Portland, Ore. Nightlight is sold in Dichotomy two mornings a week, and they plan to start parking outside of Dichotomy at night and Pinewood Coffee Roasters on weekend mornings. Other than days when they’re working events, Wren said the Nightlight food truck will be situated somewhere in downtown Waco Thursday through Sunday. People will be able to locate the Nightlight truck via social media posts.

Eric said Nightlight is unique because there’s very few late night snack options in Waco.

“Obviously the croissant donuts make it unique ’cause there’s just no place to get any sort of croissant donut in Central Texas, and there’s just not really any late night dessert places around Waco … It’s somewhat innovative of an idea because everyone associated breakfast and donuts together, but I personally would want a donut after dark any day of the week, I think that sounds so good for any dessert,” Eric said.

Customer satisfaction and all around-experience is a top priority for the brothers, Eric said.

“We care that we put out an excellent product and that everyone loves what they’re tasting, but we want all the customers to gave a great experience,” Eric said. “We care a ton about that. I want people to not even think about having to ask for a napkin or think ‘Oh, this is taking a while’. I just want people to have a great experience, from walking up to the truck and how it looks to getting the donut, tasting it, and walking away. That’s our massive thing that we care about is just making sure everyone has a really great experience,”

Wren said he hopes to be able to take Nightlight to other college towns in the Big 12 and even the SEC.

“I would love for late-night weekend donuts, everyone thinks Nightlight donuts,” Eric said. “We want to be the go-to option in Waco. Ultimately, we would love to be a brand that goes to other college towns because we started this with college students in mind. They’re going to be the ones up late studying, or whether they’re out on the weekends, donuts just go great with both.”

Bellaire senior Kate Campbell has been friends with the Wrens since before Nightlight Donuts existed and she started helping out with Nightlight this summer when the business began.

“I love the environment that they foster, the work culture they foster,” Campbell said. It’s really fun to work for people like them. I really respect them as people and so it’s really easy to get behind what they’re doing.”

Campbell said she’s done everything from cooking donuts, to working the Farmers Market on Saturdays mornings, to working events and scheduling.

“The donuts are great,” Campbell said. “I love baking and cooking, so it’s really fun to learn those skills.”