Now We’re Cooking: A Q&A with Revolution Doughnuts founder Maria Moore Riggs

Maria Moore Riggs (Photo by Carmen K. Sisson)

Maria Moore Riggs’ education is in psychotherapy, but she found her love for baking to be more emotionally fulfilling. After moving to Atlanta from California with her family in 2008, Riggs opened a coffee shop in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, but it failed after only a year. Undaunted, she decided to make her love of baking front and center when she opened the first location of Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur in 2012. The nearly instant success of her handmade doughnuts led to a second outpost opening in Inman Park in 2017. The pandemic might have slowed things down, but a re-embrace of comfort foods meant Riggs’ sweet treats were still in demand.

Comfort food, like doughnuts, has played a large part in getting folks through the past year. What are some of the comfort foods that you prepared or purchased that soothed you and your family?
Doughnuts are definitely a great comfort food. I am also a huge fan of takeout sushi and bun noodle bowls – really anything rice based is my comfort food jam. And ice cream – ice cream is my “never-fail” comfort food.

Besides doughnuts and pastries, what are some of your other favorite foods to prepare for yourself or family? Have you toyed with the idea of any other restaurant/cafe concepts?
I love dusting off old recipes and making cookies and other traditional family treats around the holidays. I don’t bake at home as much as I used to before the shop opened. I do love to cook though and make at least one or two meals every day with my family – mostly quick stir fry – lots of veggies and rice.  Yes, of course, every entrepreneur toys with other concepts. Pre-doughnuts it was going to be either chocolate, ice cream or cupcakes. Post-doughnuts it will probably be a salad or stir fry bar concept – just to balance the sweets.

What are some of your favorite places to eat in Atlanta – full meal or to get a sweet treat?
I think we are really lucky to have several great local farmers markets in the Atlanta Metro area – the Grant Park and Decatur markets are two of my favorites. Your Dekalb Farmers Market is our main weekly grocery stop – their hot deli is always good for a quick family meal. We order take out once a week. Some of our favorite local go-to places are the Krog Market (because you can get everything there from bun noodles to amazing ice cream), Sushi Avenue, and Farm Burger.

Revolution Doughnuts’ social media accounts – especially Instagram – have large followings. How integral has social media been to Revolution’s success?
I’d say social media was a huge part of our initial success. Scoutmob ran a little article on our opening back in 2012 and we opened that first day to a long line of customers. We have used Facebook and Twitter to post our daily menus – we still do but haven’t really gotten into paying for boosted posts or using social media management companies so we probably have a long way to go leaning about using those tools to better advantage. We started posting on Instagram the summer of 2013. They say people “eat with their eyes” and Instagram has been the perfect way to showcase our sweet little treats and keep in touch with the community.

What advice do you have for other restaurateurs who are struggling during the pandemic? What’s the best advice someone gave you during this challenging time?Always look for ways to help people when you can – that is the only way to get through difficulty. “This too shall pass.”