Meet the team behind Hero + see how they make their delicious dough


Hero Doughnuts / Wil Drake
Wil Drake hand-punching doughnuts. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

We heard it takes the bakers at Hero three days to make their delicious brioche dough, so we went for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Trussville Hero to see it for ourselves. Not only did we get to see the dough-making process—afterwards, we got to try the tastiest treats made with it and we weren’t mad about it.

Hero’s 3-day dough-making process

Hero Doughnuts
Fresh out of the fryer. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Co-founder Wil Drake and Operating Partner Molly Seckman explained how they make their brioche dough:

  • Day One: This is when they make the dough from scratch, using a very simple recipe of flour, milk, butter, eggs, sugar and salt, then put it in the cooler to rest overnight.
  • Day Two: They process the dough, cutting it for doughnuts, shaping it into loaves, buns or whatever else.
    • First they take the whole batch of dough and cut it eight equal parts—just the right size to fit on a sheet tray.
    • For doughnuts, they roll it flat.
  • Day Three: The day that everything comes together, this is when they proof the dough, fry it and produce everything that ends up in the case or on your plate.

Molly explained that time is an essential ingredient for a brioche dough to develop into the fluffy tastiness we all love.

Fun fact: Hero calls their doughnut holes “sidekicks”.

Find a Hero near you.

One of the men behind the doughnuts

Wil Drake in his happy place
Wil Drake in his happy place. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Wil Drake was born and raised in Georgia, then came to Alabama to attend Samford University. Since high school, he had worked in restaurants, but really wanted to be a drummer in a band. When he realized that wasn’t the most sustainable way to make a living, he went all in in the restaurant industry.

He worked as a butcher for a while, did wedding cakes, barbecue, fine dining and ended up at Saw’s with Mike Wilson.

While Wil was working with a friend at Woodlawn Cycle Cafe, he made a brioche that customers loved. Since brioche was what he knew, he started a doughnut side hustle that soon developed an incredible following.

That was eight years ago, and the rest is history. Drake said to himself:

“I’m ready to try to do something about this. No one was making homemade doughnuts from scratch. As a kid, I always loved Krispy Kreme Doughnuts with the old-fashioned glaze. Those were yeasted donuts, and I tried to create my own version of that.”

When I asked him what his favorite was, he didn’t hesitate: “the OG glazed.” When he did pop-ups, that was literally the only flavor he offered. He worked to perfect it, and didn’t care what went on top. That’s where the customers came in—once they started asking for strawberry, chocolate and other flavors, Hero Doughnuts started to evolve into what we know and love.

Jason Wallis, Co-Founder

Jason Wallis and Wil Drake have been friends for a while. When Drake and Roscoe Hall used to do ticketed private dinners in Wallis’ photography studio, Wallis said “whatever you want to do, whenever you’re ready, I’ll be your investor and help you out.”

He believed in his friend, in his talent and in his commitment to excellence:

“Everything he does is delicious. I feel like I bet on the right horse.”

Jason Wallis, Founding Partner + Investor, Hero

Fan-favorite menu items you simply have to try

  • Fried Egg + Cheese Bun: with folded eggs, Cracked Sauce + pepper jam
  • Kolache: smoked sausage + American cheese wrapped in brioche dough
  • Big A** French Toast: homemade brioche, vanilla cream, maple syrup, blueberries + sausage
  • Hero Cheeseburger: all beef patty, American cheese, onion, pickle + Cracked Sauce

Head to Hero today.

Sponsored by:

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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