Glazed: Alexandra Leyland-Collins / by Alexandra Leyland-Collins

GLAZED: WHERE DOUGHNUT BAR MEETS MUSIC HUB MEETS ART GALLERY. UNTIL 5PM ON TUESDAYS AND 10PM WEDNESDAY TO SATURDAY, YOU CAN UNLEASH YOUR SWEET TOOTH UPON THE DELICIOUS TREATS GLAZED HAS TO OFFER. PICK UP YOUR DOUGHNUT, PILE THE CHOCOLATES HIGH AND REVEL IN LOLLIES GALORE. WITH A FRESHLY BREWED POT OF THE BEST FILTER COFFEE AT THE READY TO WASH IT ALL DOWN, YOU CAN’T GO FAR WRONG.

Glazed

 

Meeting in the recently opened Glazed at the Hunter end of Union Street, I caught up with the owner, Lucas, who chatted to me between serving customers.

So, for those of our readers who haven’t visited yet, how would you describe Glazed to them? You seem to have a lot going on here!

Glazed is a place where you come to hang out, listen to records, connect with people, cruise after work. You don’t even have to spend any money! I created it so people can relax or work, because there are no places in Newcastle, besides the pub, where you can cruise until 10pm, with unlimited Wi-Fi, doughnuts if you want. Nothing else is open. I wanted one of those places in Newcastle and I couldn’t find any, so I was like, ‘Well, fine, I’m gonna make a place myself then.’

Where did the (w)hole doughnut idea come from?

I was in Melbourne and I went to this great doughnut place where they sell those tiny doughnut balls and you add Nutella or whatever toppings. I thought it was sick, but then the salesgirl is all, ‘Oh no, you can only pick two flavours.’ What! I wanted to try all of them, so I thought you should be able to do it yourself and put your own toppings on, and that’s where it started. So when I came back from Melbourne I was looking for a shop and I found this place. The landlord really liked the concept and I also managed to get the apartment upstairs, which is awesome! This place hadn’t been used in 15 years, so it was an absolute dump – the walls and the ceiling were falling apart, so I had to fix them, paint, do the electricity… As of the other day, I’m a plumber as well! [Laughs] I fitted a dishwasher at the back. Yeah, I did everything, but I love building stuff so I don’t mind it.

What brought you to Australia, then? [Indicating accent] You’re obviously from France?

Yes, I’m from Paris. To be honest, it was work. I used to work for a company and they literally said ‘Come to Australia and we’ll sponsor you’. They need mobile app designers and developers here; there is a massive, massive demand, so I came.

What brought you to Newcastle specifically? 

To be honest, it’s very simple – it was my ex-girlfriend. Simple as. I was living with her in Sydney and then we’d just had enough so we moved to the Gold Coast to follow a job opportunity. Neither of us liked it there, so she said we should go back to Newcastle where she lived before, and I was like, ‘What is that place?’ We came here, and I just fell in love with it and stayed. It’s weird – when I leave Newcastle, I just want to come back. I feel at home, I feel like I belong here. It’s a weird feeling; I haven’t felt like that anywhere but here. It’s like a big city – it’s busy but not too busy, and that’s what I love about it.

I have wondered how come no one knows about Newcastle. It’s a sick place. But that’s because the people here don’t want others to come so they don’t tell anyone. They love it, they stay here, but they don’t share it. One guy, when I was surfing, was like, ‘You love Newcastle? Good. Don’t tell anyone.’ They don’t want Newcastle to turn into a new Sydney.

Well, that kind of answers my question – I was going to ask why you chose to open here instead of France, as obviously France is known for its patisseries!

Yeah, to be honest, I’m not a massive fan [of France]. I mean, I love my country, the food is amazing and all that stuff, but the weather is horrible, and the mentality is not as welcoming as over here. Newcastle is awesome – you go to the beach, surf, it’s got such a good and chill vibe and it’s also such an affordable place to live…

…especially in comparison to Paris!

Yeah! Ah, man – people there don’t have any money! You pay so much rent that people don’t actually spend money on food and stuff because it’s really expensive. In Australia, people make a really good living, enjoy life, go out, spend money on food, on drinks. It’s a different lifestyle, which suits me a lot more.

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Looking around, you seem to be very into the whole reusable and ‘keep it local’ vibe. Was that always part of your business plan?

Recycling was always in the back of my mind. When I came to Australia I realised there’s a massive amount of waste. When I moved to Sydney I was like a kid at Christmas! The TVs on the side of the road, sofas, beds, tables… I’ve literally made up my whole room with stuff I’ve found. It’s awesome. As Europeans, we don’t throw stuff away – we will try to get at least $1 for it. But the waste is why I wanted the shop to be completely reusable: the bamboo plates, people bringing their own cups. And as well with the doughnuts — we get them fresh every morning and if we don’t sell out we give them away to the homeless, through the Newcastle Night Angels.

In terms of keeping it local, I thought I could make the place look really nice with the help of local people and at the same time, they can get traffic, free advertising, and also sell their work. I want people to participate in the shop so I’m really open to every possibility. That’s my philosophy in life: I always say yes to everything because I love trying new things, and also if it can benefit other people, then that’s awesome.

So if someone wanted to come and hang up their artwork, how would they go about it?

They just come and talk to me! [Laughs] Choose wherever they think will be best and I can help to display it. Make sure you put your details so then if people like it they can contact you, follow your artwork, or even get in touch if they want to buy something. 

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You’re closed on Sundays and Mondays. What do you tend to do when you’re not working?

I work on the shop, come up with new creative ideas for the toppings, prep my social media for the week. It’s non-stop but I love being busy. I’d love for someone at some point to work in the mornings to help me out so that I can have a life again though, go shopping, even wash my clothes! Focus on different stuff. I’m a massive nature person; I love exploring and going to new places, mountains, climbing, surfing, swimming – I have to swim at least once a week. I used to go every day but not since the shop opened. I love sunsets, having a glass of wine, reconnecting with friends and good tunes. If I had a million dollars, I would have the exact same life… Just be less stressed with rent! I would probably travel a bit more so I can see my family, but that’s it.

Do you have a five-year plan for Glazed? I’ve heard word that you’re looking into becoming a licensed venue…

I’ve got massive plans, yeah. I can’t reveal everything because there are lots of surprises but I will do savoury doughnuts; every week there will be a new flavour, really crazy stuff. I will do milkshakes, thickshakes, add Baileys... But that’s only the beginning! I’ve got a lot more that I’d like to add to the shop because I’ve also got a space in the back where I could do something awesome, probably not related to doughnuts particularly, but something that will combine with it. But keeping unique and awesome either way – starting small, expanding, and then reusing that money to expand the business further.

So when would you be looking to get a licence?

Soon! Starting with BYO hopefully in the next three months. (Update: now approved) 

For updates and food porn, follow Glazed’s progress on Instagram @glazedbar or at www.glazedbar.com.au.

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