Early mornings, loading a van, setting up a farmer’s market tent in the cold, heat, rain and sun. The first Hero Doughnuts outpost was a shared commercial kitchen where founder Wil Drake’s 2-day process of making brioche style, yeast doughnuts started. Fresh fruit cooked down and mixed into glazes and fillings, topped with crunchy nuts, streusel, chocolate and sprinkles became the expression of joy that customers feel when they taste our doughnuts. What started as a “pop-up” grew into a market stall where folks liked up and the doughnuts sold out regularly. It became evident that doughnuts matter--they bring people together, spark joy and satisfy our cravings with more than just sugar.
It all started with great dough–brioche style–in a two-day process. Doughnuts and buns hand-made with that dough paved the way for award-winning burgers, full breakfast plates and sandwiches, fresh salads and brunchy cocktails.
A happy place for everyone.
We celebrate living. Hero can shine up a special occasion, mark an event, brighten up an office or cheer someone up but each day is worth celebrating so come on in!
Georgia native and Birmingham, Alabama resident, Wil Drake is the creative mind behind Hero Doughnuts and Buns. Drake began working in a Starbuck’s Coffee while attending Samford University in Birmingham where he received a degree in Nutrition. Setting his focus on a culinary career, Will has worked as a baker, hustled in a busy BBQ restaurant, flipped burgers with celebrity chef Richard Blais, and prepared nutritious meals for those suffering from eating disorders. He spent time in Ireland learning the art of whole animal butchery and returned to Alabama where he returned to his love of baking breads and pastries. Hero Doughnuts was a passion project that started as a “pop-up” concept and and after partnering with The Pihakis Restaurant Group, they opened the first Hero Doughnuts and Buns in Homewood, Alabama in 2017.
The first location of Hero Doughnuts and Buns opened in 2017 on a beloved corner of Homewood, Alabama—an attractive walking neighborhood in the Birmingham area.
The restaurant quickly became a local favorite and the menu expanded to include locally roasted coffee, breakfast “buns” made from the same delicious, brioche dough as the doughnuts filled with eggs, meats, and cheese as well as the now-famous Super Crunch Chicken Sandwich. Griddled burgers soon followed as well as full breakfast plate and salad options.
Our next generation HERO
Children take up a huge space in our hearts and for that reason we have created a corner just for our “little heroes” to nurture their creativity and encourage play.
“Family” takes on many forms and we love to see all family variations inside our shop. Every day at Hero Doughnuts and Buns there are co-workers meeting, friends talking, solo diners enjoying a book or working all while energetic children frolic in the space. These kids give us joy and renew our energy. They help us to do better and be better. We offer food that spreads happiness and celebrates victories like good behavior, high marks at school, accomplishments that no matter how small or large, build up to create good character. Hero customers are our family and we celebrate you.