Monday, April 22, 2024

Kauai-birthed taro donut kings Holey Grail to open first Long Beach location

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Holey Grail—the Hawai’i based taro donut concept that was birthed out of a food truck before opening multiple brick-and-mortars on the mainland—will be opening its first Long Beach location, taking over the former Earl of Sandwich shop that closed earlier this year.

Wait—is Holey Grail all about taro as a starch for its dough or taro as a flavor for a traditional donut?

Founded on the island of Kauai in Hawai’i in 2018 by siblings Hana and Nile Dreiling, the pair developed a way to take the starch from taro, pound it and ferment it, and use it as a base for dough for donuts.

Strong supporters of both veganism and sustainability, they created what they called their “Sunday ritual” when they opened their first food trailer in Hanalei: serving fried-to-order taro donuts. This ritual quickly developed a cult-like following, leading to people lining up at the wee hours of the morning to taste their flavors that altered weekly.

Those flavors wildly varied: Ube and lilikoi. Meyer lemon and salted kale chip. Miso honey with black sea salt. Maple and smoked coconut. Kombucha pumpkin and coffee. Yuzu and hojicha. Passionfruit, orange, and guava. Truffle and honey. Black sesame and banana.

Holey Grail went from food truck to brick-and-mortar in a matter of a few years

Nile resides in Los Angeles, while Hana lives on Oahu—and with each bouncing between island and mainland, the pair were able to secure some $9M in 2022 in funding after Nile brought a donut truck to the westside of L.A.—a food truck, mind you, Tastemade considered “worth the hype.” Notable investors included Tony Hawk, Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins, and Meadowood Chef Christopher Kostow, among others.

Soon thereafter, they opened a brick and mortar in Santa Monica followed by a second location in Larchmont Village in 2023.

This will mark their third location in the Los Angeles area followed by their two locations in Hawai’i.

Holey Grail is one of many larger brands to step into Belmont Shore while the neighborhood undergoes a restaurant and shop renaissance

Belmont Shore is rapidly changing and has rapidly changed—especially across the past two years, where a slew of bigger, largely Los Angeles-based brands have opted to open up locations along the famed business corridor.

“It’s really a reflection of how people are dismissing the shopping malls in favor of Main Street corridors that remind them of charm and local culture,” said Belmont Shore Business Association leader Heather Kern. “Belmont Shore is primed and ready. It’s a genuinely exciting time for both residents and visitors alike.”

The Win~Dow, Venice’s smash burger concept birthed in 2019 in a parking lot, has officially opened its first Long Beach location in Belmont Shore in the former Archibald’s space. Following its first location in Venice, its second location in Silver Lake, and its third here in Long Beach, more are to come in Southern California in 2024—but the Belmont Shore location has proven wildly fruitful: On the daily, there is a perpetual line for its affordable, minimalist burgers.

Goodies, the affordable home shop brand that opened its first brick-and-mortar in Santa Monica, moved into Belmont Shore. Founder and owner Rhea Carlisle—born in the Philippines, raised in a small, struggling town in South Texas—has brought a brand to the Shore than countless cities across SoCal have vied for only to find themselves empty handed.

Then there’s Dave’s Hot Chicken, birthed out of East Hollywood, that opened in 2023 in the Shore. Here’s been Candified. Le Macaron. Breakfast Republic. Foodologie. Nick the Greek. Louie’s. Northern Cafe. Sushi Nikkei’s second location in the city

The list goes on—as does the renaissance. And Holey Grail is a welcomed addition.

Holey Grail will be located at 4803 E. 2nd St. It is expected to open in the coming months.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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