A small, unassuming building sits on the corner of Haywood Road and Wamboldt Avenue in West Asheville. It’s “Hole”, where you can now get “Hot Doughnuts and Fresh Coffee”.
Owners Kim Dryden and Caroline Whatley opened to the public only two weeks ago, on Thursday, October 16th.
Sweet Tooth and I were on a field trip, checking out Hole and another doughnut shop that’s recently opened in Asheville. The moment we stepped inside, I was captivated by the look. Reclaimed beadboard salvaged from a derelict Asheville building, lots of real-mullioned windows letting in plenty of light, owner-made tables, and a no-secrets open baking area.
Here’s where it gets ticklish. The doughnut “case” contains three choices. That’s it. And they are priced from $2 ($2.25 for flavored) each. Each week can potentially see three new flavors, but popular flavors often repeat.
Let’s do a little comparison (may not be the exact same doughnut, but as close as I could get):
So why would you want to pay twice as much or more for a single doughnut? Read on ~
Sweet Tooth wanted to try the classic glazed with a cup of coffee.
The Cinnamon Sesame Seed option sounded good to me.
Doughnuts at Hole are larger than at many other shops. Coffee is hot and fresh, but there are no espresso options at this time.
All doughnuts at Hole are yeast, or raised, doughnuts. They are lighter than cake doughnuts, and more time-consuming to make due to the time required to, 1. roll out the dough (instead of dropping it into a baking pan or hot oil to fry) and, 2. wait for the dough to rise before frying. Both yeast and cake doughnuts are good, of course. just different.
“We use a non- sour pre ferment, cage free eggs, stone ground organic flour from Lindley Mills, unrefined cane sugar, sea salt, organic whole milk, and whole butter to make our doughnuts.” ~ Hole
The entire doughnut-making process is right out in the open at Hole. It made me feel more like I was visiting in a friend’s kitchen rather than in a commercial shop.
Since opening, rolled dough has been cut with an heirloom (over 100 years old) doughnut cutter. This day, that cutter was out being re-soldered after breaking under heavy use. Instead, they were using an empty can. Ingenious and fun.
Notice the piece of wood with two magnetic strips between the windows? Someone’s bright idea for out of the way, but handy equipment storage.
After rounds of dough are cut and weighed, the baker makes a hole in the middle with her hands and places them on a baking sheet. Baking sheets are then put in warm proofing ovens, where the dough will rise.
When they’re ready, the doughnuts are deep fried. Those are drum sticks they’re using to turn each doughnut once.
Next, and final step for glazed doughnuts is the hand-glazing.
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Decore is simple and homey – not always easy to achieve without coming off as kitschy. If you’re wondering, that’s the top of a tall stack of bags of flour under the wreath.
You may have seen their cute panel truck driving around town. It’s not fitted out as a food truck, but acts as advertising when it’s on the road and is set up with a table and chairs in the back, for overflow outdoor patio seating when needed.
So, to answer the question, “Why would you pay twice as much ($2) for a single doughnut?”.
Because it’s worth it.
For me, I don’t like greasy, oil-soaked doughnuts. I also don’t like huge servings. Hole is where I will go for a good cup of coffee and one doughnut, eaten slowly, while appreciating the time and care it took to make it.
The limited doughnut offering business model is based on Britt’s Donuts, operating on the Boardwalk in Carolina Beach since 1939. They have only ever served one kind of doughnut and one kind only: glazed plain. Hole has expanded the model to three types of doughnuts.
Owner Caroline is from New Orleans. She and partner Kim styled the building’s exterior after historic New Orleans Shotgun House architecture, including narrower siding and a roof apron that’s supported by columns and brackets.
- Access to the often full parking lot is off of Haywood Rd.
- The street right behind Hole is named “Success Ave”. A good omen.
168 Haywood Rd
West Asheville, NC 28806