You know the old saying, "in every cloud there's a silver lining", well for one chef in Wilton, the pandemic has turned his life around in a good way.

Chef Hugh Mangum had quite a reputation as a barbeque chef. He was the co-founder of Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue in Westchester, former Chopped champion, a Jean-Georges alum, frequent judge on Beat Bobby Flay and Fire Masters, but that all changed when the pandemic happened and the barbeque business took a hit.

Then one day, he noticed his kids making doughnuts during quarantine and a light bulb went off. He and his wife decided why not start making the doughnuts. One thing led to another, and he decided to open a pop-up donut shop in Wilton. At first, the pop up shop was only suppose to be a one time deal, but as Mangum told ctbites.com, that all changed very quickly.

I expected no one to show up, maybe sell a hundred or two hundred max, but we sold out in 28 minutes! I had no idea what to expect because I’m used to people in New York City buying one or two, and in Wilton it was all dozens. I was caught off guard in a good way.

So due to popular demand, and as the lines grew each week, the one time pop up shop became an every Sunday morning thing, then in late September, Mangum moved Rise to it's current home at the Schoolhouse Restaurant in Cannondale. The hours of operation changed too. Now you can sink your teeth into one of the mouthwatering doughnuts three times a week, on Fridays from 6 PM until 8 PM, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 AM until 2 PM, or until all the doughnuts are sold out.

While being an accomplished barbeque chef will always be Mangum's first love, right now, he has no problem making the change to doughnuts.

I’m not claiming to be the donut guy, but I like learning, and I gravitated towards it because during the pandemic, I realized that people are looking for simple comforts. Most people enjoy donuts and it was something I could do that wasn’t meat. Our natural instinct is to do something we’re familiar with and doing something I’m not familiar with is a challenge and it’s fun.

Recently Mangum and his now famous doughnuts were featured on ABC's Good Morning America, and that could only mean one thing, even longer lines every weekend at "Rise".

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