HANALEI — Hana and Nile Dreiling’s vision to create a food product using locally-produced agriculture to promote sustainability started as a part-time venture and transformed into a full-time, family-run business.
The two siblings, originally from Oregon, purchased an old burger truck from a business formally known as Kaua‘i Burger, and pushed burgers and donuts on Sundays only when they opened in 2018.
Not your average doughnut
During the early days of operating the business the siblings sank their savings into, they quickly noticed a trend with their customer base: high demand for their uniquely-crafted doughnuts, which would quickly become a North Shore staple.
Starting with a $100 fryer, people began clamoring for the donuts with their unique ingredients, and during the pre-COVID-era, even had lines of loyal customers who would wait 45 minutes for the unique creations.
Holey Grail Donuts began as a family-owned business and is now a 16-person company with aspirations to expand.
The siblings had one specific goal in mind with the production of their doughnuts — to create the most unique donut in the world with a unique set of ingredients.
Developing their premix and taro-based dough, Holey Grail focused on every aspect of their product by creating everything in-house and using no premixes.
“That essentially is what allows us to stand apart — our commitment to creating everything in-house,” said Nile Dreiling, co-founder of Holey Grail Donuts. “Our taro-based dough is the big one, and we weren’t aware of anyone else doing it, especially the way we do it.”
The doughnut menu doesn’t even stay the same, as Holey Grail is constantly working on a rotating roster of flavors that might be around for only a short time.
“We have a few staples, and things that rotate less, and some menu items that rotate more,” Dreiling said. “We utilize ingredients we can source, and our formula is to be as creative as we can be.”
Consistently creating flavors and carefully paying attention to the ingredients they put in their dough has allowed them to be successful.
“What makes the donut unique is the taste and texture, and we fry it in organic coconut oil, which gives it the texture of a cake doughnut and makes it soft and crispy,” Dreiling said. “That freshness gives the consumer a unique experience.”
After the Drielings chose to go full time, they haven’t looked back, and continue to expand their offerings.
The humble grassroots of Holey Grail Donuts, now a staple on the North Shore, recently expanded when they launched a second storefront on New Year’s Eve on O‘ahu.
COVID-19 didn’t affect sales enough to impede the venture’s progress.
“We are still there, and throughout COVID we’ve been able to stay open and batten down the hatches to keep our business moving forward,” Hana Dreiling said.
Holey Grail also offers a line of beverages in which they put just as much emphasis on as the doughnuts themselves.
These include a blend of flash-chilled and nitrogen-infused coffee; a draft latte enriched with homemade nut milk; holy chai, a blend of herbs and spices mixed with homemade nut milk; and chocolate mylk with cashew, coconut, Manoa cacao, maple and sea salt, among other flavors.
“This essentially allows us to make incredible coffee and tea beverages,” Nile Dreiling said.
Holey Grail Donuts intends to expand without compromising quality.
“As we grow, we strive to improve our product,” Nile Dreiling said. “We are offering better ingredients, more of an opportunity to invest in our team and improve the quality of products.”
The company has aspirations to expand its brand to all the islands.
“We hope to improve the quality of the product, and the only way we can continue doing that is to temper greed and profit,” Nile Dreiling said. “We want to focus on improvements” concerning “the location, product and customer experience to compensate our staff.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.