They may have been still dodging rice, but for the young newlywed couple, it was time to make the doughnuts.
After saying their “I do’s” on June 3, Ben Wang and Brea Reeves were off to the Bethany Beach area just one week later, for the grand opening of their new food truck, Sandy Pony Donuts, on Saturday, June 10, trading in a honeymoon suite for a sweet honeymoon.
“You could say this is our honeymoon,” said Reeves, with a laugh. “We literally are together every second of every day now.”
“Hey, it was her decision to want to work with me,” added Wang, joking back. “I’m probably the harder one to work with, because I always manage to get in the way somehow. But it’s just always worked out.”
While it may just recently be official, marriage-document-wise, the longtime couple and unofficial doctors of dough are by no means strangers to working side by side, battering together for better or worse for going on the last half-decade.
In fact, the Bethany-area shop, next to Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop on Route 1, is actually the third stop on the Sandy Pony Express — the original location opening up in Chincoteague, Va., (also next to the original Atlantic Shoals) now three years ago and second location in Annapolis, Md., being added soon after.
Put simply, when it comes to Sandy Pony, this ain’t their first rodeo.
“We have definitely learned a lot over the last couple of years,” said Reeves of the partnership. “We couldn’t do it alone. We have to have each other.”
“That first summer was kind of when I knew, ‘Hey, I could marry this girl,’” added Wang. “This truck is actually double the size of the one in Chincoteague, though, so that helps, too.”
After making it work long-distance for the first two years of the relationship, the then 24-year olds and recent college grads decided to take the next step and go into business together, with the idea to make doughnuts on-demand in the summer of 2014.
Wang had always been his own boss, starting his own building company in Annapolis out of college — skills he put back to use to build all three Sandy Pony trucks by hand before Reeves went on to design each one’s layout. Reeves had been working as a photographer for NASA in Wallops Island, Va., after college, but when the first truck caught on sooner than expected, she started making doughnuts full time.
“Ben gets a good idea, he makes it happen,” said Reeves. “We just kind of tested [the doughnuts] out. As the summer went on, we kept saying to each other, ‘Hey, this would be really good with this’ and coming up with new ideas.”
From the ‘Sweet 16’ to the ‘27 Club’ (also, açai bowls)
Since starting out with the original sweet 16, Sandy Pony is now saddled with 26 different doughnut options, all available hot and fresh for fans of “hole foods,” as well as an additional fan favorite on the “secret menu” exclusively for loyal customers and stayed-golden pony-boys (and girls) in the know… (Ask about the “King Neptune.”)
Cake-for-breakfast can be as simple as pie with the basic “Raw,” or “Ms. Sandy” with cinnamon-sugar, but customers are free to get glazed without confusion along a menu board featuring so-far favorites such as the “Porky Pony,” with honey-glaze, cinnamon-sugar and bacon; “Dirty Banana,” with banana glaze and Oreo crumble; “Strawberry Stallion,” with strawberry glaze and powdered sugar; “Salted Caramel,” with caramel glaze and pretzels; Wang’s own-personal favorite, “Charlie Brown,” with peanut butter glaze and mini chocolate chips; and Reeves’ go-to “Yabba Dabba Doo-Nut,” with honey glaze and Fruity Pebbles, just to name a few.
Customers are also free to customize from the selection of made-from-scratch original glazes and an array of toppings, all available by the dozen, half-dozen or any other quantity, odd-numbered or no.
For health nuts looking for something aside from doughnuts, Sandy Pony is also putting its signature spin on the açai bowl — a brand new menu item unique to the Bethany location only.
“Ours our a little bit different,” said Reeves. “We shave our bowls, rather than blend them. It actually stays colder longer, so on those hot 100-degree days, it’s not just melting away.”
“The açai bowls have been big for us so far,” added Wang of the custom bowls available with fresh fruit toppings and crunchy granola. “At each location, we try to do a second extra thing. Chincoteague, we do snow cones. In Annapolis, we do bubble tea. And then, here, we’re doing açai bowls.”
They’re also serving up fresh-brewed coffee from City Dock Coffee out of Annapolis, as well as chai tea and plenty of cooler drinks, including juices and chocolate milk for the kids.
Less about making dough, more about the local nuts
Often, while he’s on a mid-day stroll around the harbors of Annapolis, someone will stop Ben Wang and say, “Hey — you’re the doughnut guy!”
Similarly, Reeves is known simply as “the doughnut lady.”
However, despite both graduating from nearby Salisbury University, neither knew much about the Bethany Beach area or its local residents before getting to town.
As soon as they opened up the window on their first day in business, however, that all began to change.
“I was just outside and I just met these people, and now I already have two workout partners,” said Wang with a laugh, of his new friends who offered to let him use their home gym nearby. “The small-town feel is great. Our customers are becoming our friends. Everyone is congratulating us about getting married. It’s a cool feeling.”
“Everyone has been super-super-nice,” added Reeves. “This is the first place that we’ve ever gone where we didn’t really know anybody or anything, but so far everyone here has been really welcoming.”
Now able to spend all their time in Bethany, with a loyal veteran crew minding the stores in Annapolis and Chincoteague, for the recently-hitched honeymooners, getting to know the community through something as simple as a doughnut is what it’s all about.
“The best part is meeting people. I just like to talk to people and hear their story,” said Wang.
“We want to become the town’s local doughnut shop. When I see the line out the door and smiles and kids running around, and families happy, and older couples taking a bite out of one of our doughnuts and telling us, ‘This is how it used to be when I was a kid’ — that’s what it’s all about. It’s just the best feeling. It’s just like, ‘Wow, how does it get any better than this?’”
Sandy Pony Donuts is located at 33230 Coastal Highway, just south of the Sea Colony Market place and right next to Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop on Route 1, south of Bethany Beach. The truck is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.