Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Aren't all donuts holey?
That's the first question people ask when they hear the name of Portland's newest doughnut shop.
The Holy Donut opened last Friday in the spot that used to be Terroni’s Market on Park Avenue, just across the street from Hadlock Field. Leigh Kellis, the owner, had been using the kitchen at the East Ender and selling her products wholesale at Coffee By Design, Whole Foods and Bard Coffee.
Her new retail space has a comfy sitting area with brown sofas, and a little coffee bar where customers can help themselves to the Holy Donut blend created specially for the store by Coffee By Design.
After the first week, her biggest seller appears to be the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt doughnut.
But there’s a lot of competition for customers’ affection. Just look at these doughnut flavors Kellis is creating: Buttermilk Mocha, Sweet Potato Ginger, Buttermilk Maple, Bacon Cheddar, Molasses, and about 10 more varieties that rotate from day to day.
Kellis, a single mom, says she develops flavors in her head, on a whim. “I’m really passionate about doughnuts,” she said, “so I just try to make things that I would want to eat.”
But why doughnuts?
“I feel like doughnuts are a cheap thrill,” Kellis said. “They’re not expensive, but they’re so incredibly pleasureable. I found that I craved them all the time.”
So she started researching doughnut recipes and experimenting – and feeding her friends. She went on pilgrimages to other cities, in search of old-fashioned doughnut made by hand in mom-and-pop doughnut shops. It became kind of an obsession.
When Kellis finally had one she thought worthy of sharing – her Maine Potato doughnut, made with potatoes that have been peeled, boiled, then riced – she took it to Coffee By Design and they said yes, they’d sell it for her.
Some of her other flavors, including the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, have as much potato in them as the actual potato doughnut. Even the Bacon Cheddar is a Maine potato doughnut, only it’s stuffed with crispy bacon and local cheddar cheese that melts inside.
The Bacon Potato doughnut has developed a small cult following, Kellis said, “but I don’t go near it because it’s like crack. If I have one, I’ll have three. They’re that good.”
All of the doughnuts are $1.50 each, $8 per half dozen and $15 per dozen.
The Holy Donut is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Kellis said she expects to extend the hours soon because she’s going to start selling ice cream and, eventually, sandwiches, in addition to doughnuts.
Her next doughnut creation? She says it will be a doughnut ice cream sandwich.
Holy…well, you know.
– Meredith Goad
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod