Every morning Jacki Sharpe gets up at 5:30 am to make donuts for Purple Glaze, her donut shop on Summerfield Avenue. She doesn’t mind the early wake-up time at all because it’s actually a dream come true.
She loves to bake. When she was in her twenties, she wanted to go to culinary school and learn how to become a pastry chef. She was a single mom at the time and life’s demands didn’t allow it, so she went in another direction. She enrolled at the County College of Morris, took night classes, and eventually got her master’s degree.
While going to school at night, she worked during the day at the college as an administrator in Academic Affairs and part-time as an adjunct professor in the English Department, teaching Intercultural Communications and Basic Skills classes.
She and her husband Dominic enjoyed coming to Asbury Park on the weekends. In 2007 they bought an investment property on Third Avenue. They fell in love with the Asbury Park vibe, got to know people in the community and decided to move in and live here full time.
While Dominic was finishing the renovations and working at Brookdale Community College as an administrator, he encouraged her to take classes and pursue her dream. She enrolled in a Pastry Culinary Program at Brookdale and got her certificate in Pastry Arts. Twenty five years later she found her life coming full circle.
Finally, she was doing what she always wanted to do: bake!
It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Her son Wesley is also a baker. He came up through the ranks working at Langosta Lounge and gaining on the job experience.
On his days off, he and his friends would do experimental donut making. He was the inspirational voice behind their joint venture, saying “Donuts are going to be the new cupcake!”
But Jacki wanted to move slowly. She worked for a year at Wegman’s bakery department to hone her productions skills. When a friend told them about the available kitchen space in the recently-closed “Colonel’s Kissing Booth,” they felt it was time to make their dream a reality. They did most of the renovations themselves and opened their doors on May 18, 2015.
What Jacki and Wes both share, other than a love for baking, is an unprecedented creative side. While still in school, Jacki won an award for her creativity.
With their combined talents, they create some of the most unique and delectable donuts I’ve ever seen. They even have specials on different days of the week, like Metal Mondays; representing Wesley’s love of Heavy Metal music.
Aside from the unique toppings and exceptional creativity I wanted to know, “What makes Purple Glaze donuts taste so good?”
“We use a higher end mix for a light crunch on the outside and a fluffy consistency on the inside.”
“We also use high-quality oil; which is the secret to a good tasting donut. We use a 0 trans-fat oil and change it frequently so the donuts don’t become oversaturated. The new oil tends to get better with time… So there’s a ‘sweet spot’ that produces a really good tasting donut.”
“And we make small batches so they are fresh throughout the day.”
The other thing that brands Purple Glaze donuts is their combination of flavors in their toppings. The flavors meld together wonderfully to create the most delightful tasting donut you’ve ever experienced. Their presentation is top notch. You can’t even look at a Purple Glaze donut without your mouth watering. If you don’t believe me, check out their Instagram posts.
Purple Glaze donuts have become quite popular with residents and businesses alike. Many real estate agents give donuts as a gift to their clients. Whether they’ve moved here year round or just for the summer, everyone must taste a Purple Glaze. It’s part of the Asbury Park experience.
It’s very possible that donuts are becoming the new cupcake or perhaps a version of it. They make a great party favor gifts. “Donuts are perfect for any event. Last year we did 40 weddings.”
Jacki Sharpe is part of a culture of entrepreneurs that is unique to Asbury Park. They see the business community as a family and they help each other succeed.
“I want to see all the businesses do well in Asbury Park. It doesn’t help any of us if a business fails and there’s an empty
They collaborate with each other to create special events or special products for their business neighbors in order to create exclusivity and not compete with each other. It’s a trend I see happening here more and more.
For example, Asbury Park Roastery creates a special blend of coffee that is only sold at Purple Glaze. And on the weekends a special selection of donuts can be found at AP Roastery in Convention Hall. You can find Purple Glaze at The Asbury Hotel on the weekends and High Voltage Café on the boardwalk in the summer. They also do ‘beer and donut’ pairing events at Dark City Brewery and The Asbury Hotel.
Jacki Sharpe is as unique as her donuts. She’s a likable person who always has a positive outlook and a smile for everyone she meets. So the next time you’re in the neighborhood of Summerfield and Emory stop in and say hello, and grab a couple donuts while you’re there. You’ll be glad you did.
Purple Glaze is open daily from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Watch the insiders view to Purple Glaze’s donut production: