As the second-ranked doughnut shop on Yelp’s “Top 100 U.S. Donut Shops 2023” list, a West Asheville establishment is celebrating National Donut Day in grand style.
In 2016, Hallee Hirsh and Ryan Martin bought Hole Doughnuts. The doughnut shop opened in 2014. The couple live in the East Fork community of Marshall and have recently fired broiling doughnuts in a pop-up tent at Third Thursdays in Marshall.
Hirsh stated that the national recognition is something she is still trying to process. They continue to operate from the same 800-square-foot West Asheville store they opened.
“The scale of that recognition, being on that level for the whole of the U.S. is hard to even comprehend,” Hirsh said. “But the fact that this recognition is based solely on the quality of reviews fills us with so much joy, because that customer and community experience is what fuels us.”
Hirsh claims that Hole offers four flavors, including three stock flavors—vanilla, toasted almond sesame, and cinnamon sugar—and a weekly-changing seasonal fourth flavor.
The Yelp list said “Outrageous toppings are more popular than ever,” and Hole never lacks for interesting topping choices.
Hirsh said her #1 flavor is Opening’s hazelnut miso donut.
Other past toppings have included wisteria blossom, sumac, and birch, as well as honeysuckle, strawberry-peppercorn, and juneberry basil.
As indicated by Hirsh, Martin has been perfecting the recipe for years.
“Ryan has never stopped fine-tuning the recipe,” Hirsh said. “He’s got the sourdough recipe down, as well as a sourdough gluten free (though it’s not celiac safe due to there being one fryer). We keep it super simple with just four toppings to choose from.”
Hirsh said vanilla is consistently the success, however every one of the four varieties are popular.
“People love our doughnuts because they are fried to order right in front of you,” she said. “You get to eat a piping hot, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside fried goodness. Fried food is always best when it’s enjoyed immediately.”
According to Hirsh, the cheerful faces of the staff, as well as co-owner Laurie Crosswell, keep customers coming back.
Hirsh claims that Crosswell’s excellent customer service is largely responsible for Yelp’s national recognition.
“To top it all off, folks get to chat with our sweet staff and Laurie, our co-owner, who loves people immensely and is often the reason folks take the time to write a review.”
Hirsh said she and Martin are trying to buy a new building because they are renting the West Asheville location.
At the end of the day, Hirsh and the team’s main goal is to keep providing customers with the best doughnuts and service possible.
“We just want everyone to treat themselves and have a good time,” Hirsh said.
From Wednesday through Sunday, Hole Doughnuts is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 168 Haywood Road.