101 Seventh Avenue South
New York, NY 10014
Gourmet donuts are so popular these days. They’re taking over the cupcake craze, which makes perfect sense. Donuts are literally just prettier versions of fried dough (like cupcakes are to cake). I was recently invited to check out Holey Donuts! during its three-day grand opening. Frank, the owner, spent time talking to me about his donuts and how he got to where he is today. As always, I will state upfront if I was specifically invited to a tasting or had my meal comped for a review. Regardless of the situation, be confident that all my reviews reflect my objective opinions of the food. Rest assured!
Holey Donuts! has been around for almost a decade as an online donut shop but opened its first brick and mortar store in the West Village this past weekend. It makes ultra low fat gourmet donuts in a variety of flavors, frosted and jelly-filled. The base of the donut is actually not even fried. It is baked through a proprietary process and then made to order in front of you at the store.
As you probably know, I’m not super into healthy foods for the sake of being healthy. My body will crave healthy foods when it needs it. And when I eat too healthily, my body will crave a big fat juicy burger. My body tells me what I want and I rely on it to keep a balance in my life. Regardless, I was intrigued by this special donut so went to check it out. There was a huge line on Saturday afternoon as people piled in to taste these new donuts. Even though the health craze isn’t for me, it clearly is a thing.
That’s Frank right there, the owner. His father was one of the first franchise owners of what is today the most famous donut chain (you know exactly what I am referring to). So, he grew up surrounded by donuts and eventually went off to create his own. Frank hung out with me for a little bit to tell me about his passion for these low fat donuts. His mom was there, beaming with pride as she watched her son do his thing. Needless to say, his energy made me even more excited to try this donut.
What happens is you line up behind a glass counted with a variety of toppings and jelly flavors. Similar to Pink Berry or Chipotle’s process, you pick the type of donut you want and it is made right in front of you.
Don’t these donuts look like the Simpson donut? These donuts all have the same un-fried base that is injected with some kind of cream or jelly, and/or covered in some frosting with toppings. The donuts are definitely soft and fluffy (not the cakey kind), but not in a donuty kind of way. They almost taste a little like light biscuits. It doesn’t even feel right comparing them to other donuts because they are so unique. They aren’t overly sweet, and definitely don’t leave you feeling gross from eating a pound of fat. For only having a fifth of the fat regular donuts have, they are pretty damn good. Objectively speaking, I don’t think I would choose these donuts over, say, a lemon-poppy Dough donut (my fave). But if you’re into healthy desserts, like my pals M.B. and Y.N. (I know you guys would be into this), I would check out Holey Donuts!.
Frank also let me sample their Cinnamon Buns Middles, which I thought were fantastic. Again, don’t reaaaaally care about low fat things, but I actually prefer this cinnamon bun to the standard Cinnabon type. Cinnamon buns are always too heavy for me so I can really only have a few bites before I’m over it. These are way lighter and perfectly moist in the center. Definitely something I would actually have for breakfast with some coffee.
Overall, the donuts don’t strike me as the new best donut to try. If you’re looking to cut back on some calories but are a big sweet tooth (which I am not – would have pizza over a donut any day), I can imagine Holey Donuts! as a great spot. It definitely tastes better than a lot of the other weird new “low fat low cal” desserts I’ve tried that substitute the strangest things for butter and sugar.