Since she was a child, Tanya Solares has worked alongside her father in doughnut shops in California and Southern Nevada. Now that her dad, Alejandro Solares, has retired, Tanya has taken over the downtown favorite Real Donuts and named it in honor of her dad, whom she calls Poppy. For the 32-year-old mom of two, naming the shop Poppy’s Donuts represents a tribute to her father’s hard work for his family — and the strides she’s made in becoming a small business owner.
“My dad always worked in doughnut shops,” remembers Solares. “At like five years old, I would beg my dad to let me go with him. Most of the time he’d say no. But there were times I remember going and was super excited to work with him. I would end up asleep on the flour bags.”
At 11 years old, Solares started helping out in a California Winchell’s, a West Coast doughnut chain, with her dad, bagging doughnuts for customers. When her family moved to Las Vegas in 2006, her dad got a job at Real Donuts at 1811 West Charleston Boulevard. Two years later, Alejandro took over the shop and 18-year-old Tanya got a job there, too. She says that she always liked working with customers, but she also loved decorating the doughnuts.
“I was always amazed by my dad’s hard work and dedication and just seeing like, what he did and what he created,” says Solares. “I wanted to continue that for him.”
With two other shops of the same name at the time in the Las Vegas Valley, Tanya proposed changing the name, but her dad kept it, insisting that their regulars in the downtown area knew who they were. “I think it has a lot to do with the recipe and the taste and the quality,” says Solares, about the small store’s success.
Now with “Poppy’s Donuts” in big yellow letters adhered on the door, Solares is ready to make a couple of changes. She commits to keeping the glass cases stocked with the old-fashioned doughnuts, crullers, and bars that the shop is known for, but she is also experimenting with making new varieties, like doughnuts topped with cookie butter, or even with Lucky Charms and edible glitter. “So I’m officially the owner,” says Solares. “It feels amazing. It feels crazy. To be in these shoes, it’s something I wanted for a very, very long time.”
Poppy’s Donuts is open at 5 a.m. every day and closes at 4 p.m. or when sold out.