Food Network 'Chopped' champ wants to open doughnut shop in Wilton

The proposed Rise Doughnuts application is set for the business to be housed at 28 Center Street, the site of the old Lang's Pharmacy.

The proposed Rise Doughnuts application is set for the business to be housed at 28 Center Street, the site of the old Lang’s Pharmacy.

Debra Hanson /Contributed photo /

WILTON — A former Food Network “Chopped” champion wants to bring his doughnuts to town.

Hugh Mangum, a former “Chopped” champion on the Food Network and a recurring judge on “Beat Bobby Flay” and “Fire Masters,” has filed an application to open Rise Doughnuts at the old Lang’s Pharmacy on Center Street.

The accomplished chef and his wife, Laura, are looking to bring their deep-fried delights to the center of Wilton just in time for the summer.

Mangum said they are looking to be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Mangum presented his plans Monday to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which began deliberation on what would be needed for the business to be approved for the central town location. One of those stipulations was seating for patrons.

Mangum said there would be a few tables for guests, but “not for long-term seating.” He said he hopes to build a culture where, as COVID-19 regulations loosen, community members could congregate outside.

The property hosts an outdoor bench area where, when asked by commissioners, Mangum said he would allow for the seating area to be used by community members even outside of business hours.

“We were a company that came from the community and we will never stop giving to the community,” Mangum said. “That’s a core value of ours.”

While there is a residential tenant that rents an apartment above the commercial space, Mangum said he does not expect there to be issues.

Chairman Rick Tomasetti seemed confident when asked if one public hearing was enough for the application.

“The number of hearings is dependent on how adequate it would be for us to do our job. There is no reason to hold the hearing process open,” Tomasetti said. “This is a very straightforward application. I don’t need to see any additional information from the applicant and if anyone does, I’d like to hear now. I don’t think anything is lacking.”