Move over potato chips. Another Saratoga-inspired snack has aspirations for going global. Caroline Street staple, Esperanto, known best for its doughy, chicken-and-cheese-filled late-night snack the Doughboy, now called the Oboy, has officially opened a 2700-square-foot commercial bakery in Ballston Spa to mass-produce Oboys. “We’ll be able to triple or quadruple or more what we’re producing out of the restaurant,” says Will Pouch, Esperanto’s founder and owner.
The Milton Avenue bakery officially opened its doors on October 23, and it caught the attention of New York State Senator Jim Tedisco, who was on hand to help bake the first batch of tasty snacks. Though the new facility hasn’t ratcheted up production just yet, Pouch expects that within a week the bakery will begin shipping out Oboys to regional convenience stores, college campuses and gas stations. “We think Stewart’s, in particular, is going to be an awesome synergy and partnership,” says Pouch. “We’re hoping to cover most of their area in select stores.”
Esperanto was able to make the new bakery possible—and support longterm employee training at the new bakery—in part, through a $15,000 grant from the Workforce Development Institute, a statewide, job-growth-promoting nonprofit. The Oboy bakehouse is expected to create 40 new jobs in the area over the next two years. Pouch says that even some of the original Doughboy-makers recently returned to Esperanto just to work in the new bakery (the restaurant has been making the snack since the ’90s). “It’s cool being a community business, but what’s cooler is that we’re able to retain people and get them back over the years,” says Pouch. “We’re going to start with the original product and ramp that up, but soon we’re going to be adding different flavors for wholesale.” Though he wouldn’t reveal any of those new Oboy options, Pouch says one of those new flavors will be a gluten-free, vegetarian option.
Formerly called Doughboys, the tasty, portable treat was rebranded last year as the Oboy in an effort to bring the snack beyond New York State and one day take it national—maybe even international. “We started out doing ethnic street food, so stranger things have happened,” laughs Pouch. “But absolutely, that’s the dream. This product is pretty unique and, even though it has the most pedestrian ingredients, people go nuts over this thing.”