At 18, most teenage girls are picking a college, debating dorm decor and nervously wondering if they will like their roommate -- not taste-testing liquors with their mom to determine what spirits pair well with various donut flavors! But for now-20-year-old Tiana Ramos, that was an essential step in her culinary and business training that led to this month's re-opening of Naughty Girls Donuts Shop.
If that name sounds familiar, you may remember the controversy that surrounded the sweets shop a few years ago when Tiana opened her first store in Front Royal. The mother/daughter-run donut store made national headlines in 2014 when the store was boycotted by religious zealots just a few months after opening for being "too racy." Patrons took issue with the name of the shop and the pin-up-inspired decor, and ultimately the store was shuttered.
"They thought it was going to be like a Hooters, when really it's just like a 17-year-old girl who is running a donut shop," said Tiana in a 2014 Fox5 interview. The name actually stemmed from a nickname given to Tiana during her time volunteering at the Fauquier Hospital; as the teenager with a full sleeve tattoo, wearing ripped jeans and band t-shirts, the other workers affectionately nicknamed her their resident "naughty girl."
But, in a sweet twist of sugary fate, Naughty Girls is back with a vengeance, opening a 4,000-square-foot location in Loudon, after securing funding from entertainment company SNM Global Holdings. And that's only the beginning for this donut-toting duo, as Tiana and her mother Natalie Ramos are opening a second store in Georgetown in early 2018, and plan to expand nationally to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas throughout the year.
"Our ultimate goal is to have a consistently-branded Naughty Girls shop in all 50 states," said Natalie.
Naughty Girls 2.0 has cooked up a new line of nearly two dozen "drunkin donuts" infused with spirits like banana liqueur, bacon vodka, peach schnapps, vanilla vodka, whiskey and more. The store will also feature a full-service bar along with breakfast and lunch menus offering savory items such as fried chicken with gravy (albeit on a donut), breakfast sandwiches (again, on a donut), ham and cheese danishes and a variety of burgers (on donuts). The "rockabilly" pin-up feel is still very much in play, with car memorabilia everywhere and a jukebox in the corner.
"It has that Rizzo and Zuko from Grease kind of feel," said Natalie.
When asked if they ever considered just changing the name of the store to pacify the detractors, Natalie insisted that was never an option.
"We would never change the name, even though I know some people still have issues with it," said Natalie. "I kind of look at Naughty Girls as the underdog, and I am one for not judging a book by the cover. There's nothing wrong with our name -- it's all about a great brand and a great product. And most of the pin-up girls were naughty, and look at their legacy now."
Tiana is currently pursuing her higher education in Philadelphia, so Natalie has taken over most of the day-to-day operations of Naughty Girls, but says the business will be there for her daughter when she comes back.
Natalie, a survivor of domestic abuse herself, is also very committed to giving back to the community and has pledged to donate 10 percent of sales to Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter, who was there for her when she needed help not long ago.
Naughty Girls Donut Shop, 23520 Overland Dr. #124, Sterling, Virginia, open Monday-Saturday 6 a.m. -7 p.m.