Holey Grail Donuts started selling its hand-fried, made-to-order taro donuts on Sunday mornings out of a little red burger trailer in Kauai in 2018.
Four years and hundreds of long lines later, the truck is still there, but the company is taking on what co-founder Nile Dreiling calls “a stale $40 billion donut industry” by expanding its presence into brick-and-mortar locations in Los Angeles after raising $9 million in financing.
Dreiling, who was previously doing ecological engineering in Oregon, teamed up with his sister, Hana Dreiling, a private chef in Kauai, Hawaii, to start Holey Grail Donuts. They spent a lot of time reverse-engineering the donut to get the end product, which is a taro donut fried in organic, fair trade coconut oil versus palm and other oils “that often leave a waxy taste in your mouth,” Nile Dreiling told TechCrunch. He believes his company is the only one making its donuts in this sustainable way.
“We are taking something that everyone is familiar with, and reinventing it to meet our values, while essentially improving the tastes without the negative health and environmental consequences,” he said. “The process we incorporate yields a donut base that’s hot and crispy and not too sweet, which is the perfect vessel for essentially consistently rotating the garnishes. We currently have over 60 flavors that we’ve developed over the past couple of years.”
The fun part? The company uses a donut robot to make and fry the dough so one person isn’t constantly sitting in front of the fryer. That’s particularly helpful inside the food truck where there is limited space, and enables employees to serve a large capacity of customers quicker, Nile Dreiling said. Holey Grail Donuts also utilizes an app so people can order ahead of time.