Holey Grail Donuts is planning to open mid-February, co-founder Nile Dreiling told the Buzz. Dreiling founded the Hawaii-based vegan donut company with his sister Hana Dreiling, an executive chef. This is their second Los Angeles location, the first, recently opened on Main Street in Santa Monica.
Holey Grail will open at 148 N. Larchmont, formerly the Lipson Plumbing space, in the Larchmont Mercantile, formerly the Lipson Building. Dreiling (pronounced dry-ling) told the Buzz he negotiated very hard to get that specific storefront because he wanted to be located near the cross walk and in the middle of the street. The unfinished space with exposed brick also really appealed to him because it suits the company’s ethos of sustainability and reusing materials.
Dreiling and his team are thrilled to finally get open. Like several other new businesses who recently opened on the street, city inspections have delayed their opening process. Holey Grail had planned to open last Spring following the opening of their Santa Monica location but both took longer than anticipated.
Larchmont customers will get to watch the donut making process thanks to a large island in the center of the space, Dreiling explained. He hopes customers will enjoy seeing exactly what goes into the food they are eating. He and sister Hana, create all the recipes for their taro root-based donuts. Taro root, is one of the most digestive forms of starch, explained Dreiling. It’s a food staple in African, Oceanic, and South Asian cultures (similar to yams) and is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.
“Taro has great significance to the Hawaiians,” said Dreiling. “We are the first company to use taro and we use local ingredients to create ever changing donut combinations.”
Dreiling, who is now based in LA and working from a warehouse office in Culver City, told us he thinks Larchmont Blvd’s neighborhood serving nature is a perfect vibe for the shop. While their Culver City food truck has developed a solid following, Dreiling hopes more people will come check out the shop on Larchmont and build the company’s fan base. For awhile, the Holey Grail truck was on Larchmont too, at the Wednesday Farmers Market and for Hope-Net’s Taste of Larchmont.
The shop is primarily take-out but there will be a few spaces for people who want to hang for a short time and watch the process.
“We think this could be our busiest location,” said Dreiling. “Larchmont has an extremely high concentration of families. It’s a demographic that cares about ingredients and the impact of food on the environment, plus there’s a high volume of foot traffic on the street.”
While Holey Grail is a donut shop, the business is more than that to Dreiling. He told us he sees the donut as a vehicle to create a more ethical approach to food retail. For now, he’s staying focused on creating the best donut he can.
“We are the only ones with a taro base and we use less one third of the ingredients you’ll find in a typical donut,” explained Dreiling. “No donut is ‘healthy,’ it’s not like eating a salad but if you know you are going to have a treat, you know that we really care about the ingredients, it’s what we use at home, it’s locally sourced and sustainable. We are blending our ecological ethos while maintaining the flavor and quality of what makes a really good donut. And, the best donut is a hot fresh donut,” said Dreiling.
Dreiling said right now they source all the taro from different farmers in Hawaii but he’s investigating sources for taro on the mainland so everything doesn’t have to be shipped from Hawaii. He employs a regional approach to sourcing ingredients, building their network of farm partners and other chefs to collaborate on new flavors as they grow.
Holey Grail operates like a small, family run company. His sister is still based in Hawaii and his mom, also based in LA, is helping with the operation side of the business. Over the past several years, they have been able to raise capital from investors who share their values enabling them to expand.
An exact opening date isn’t know yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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