Florida Foodie: Owner of Rollin’ Dough, The Knot talks balancing a growing business with family

Carling Ponder is getting ready to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in New Smyrna Beach

Carling Ponder, the owner of Rollin’ Dough and The Knot, always has her hands full.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Carling Ponder, the owner of Rollin’ Dough and The Knot, always has her hands full.

“It’s a nonstop job, but honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better thing,” Ponder said.

With her husband, Ponder runs three food trucks, along with monthly pop-ups at the University of Central Florida and she is getting ready to open a brick-and-mortar shop in New Smyrna Beach, all while wrangling two children.

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“We started Rollin’ Dough and it’s just been nonstop ever since,” Ponder said. “It’s almost been four years.”

The pair actually met while working in food service.

“(My husband has) been in the restaurant business, basically, his whole life. His family in Puerto Rico runs a whole bunch of pizza places,” Ponder said. “And then when we met, we worked at a restaurant and we kind of both decided, ‘You know, we could probably do this better on our own.’”

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Rollin’ Dough serves up wood-fired pizza along with oversized garlic knots, which are also used to make sliders. The pair opted for food truck because of the lower cost.

“It also gave us an opportunity to find out where we did better. We got to do so many different events, meet so many different people,” she said.

The couple originally planned to run their truck as a side hustle part-time, but their early success snowballed.

“I think it maybe only took us like one or two months to realize, ‘Hey, like, we could really do this.’ And so it didn’t take us long to just be like, ‘Alright, let’s go,’” Ponder said.

Hosts Candace Campos and Lisa Bell speak with the owners of The Knot and Rolling Dough food trucks.

Ponder eventually opened The Knot as a second food truck, selling garlic knots and knot sliders exclusively. The success of that truck led her to open another one, also called The Knot. Now, Ponder is looking to open her first brick-and-mortar location.

“It’s definitely exciting and especially now because we’re kind of moving forward,” she said. “We’ve been working at this almost a year.”

Ponder said the restaurant will be off of Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach and will feature a pet-friendly outdoor patio. She said they hope to have the restaurant open by the end of the year.

On top of everything, Ponder is now running a monthly pop-up event at UCF.

“It’s for a whole week. We’re inside the Student Union. It really came out of nowhere,” she said. “So just another thing to add to our plate, but it’s great.”

On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Ponder talks about growing her business. She also shares how she and her husband are able to juggle family life with their demanding schedule.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Florida Foodie is a biweekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.