Drama! The very day that Third Ward doughnut factory Holey Moley promised to give Milwaukee the hot oil ride of its life – the “official first day” – there were no doughnuts. The fried pastries failed to be “absolutely perfect,” co-owner/AJ Bombers scion Joe Sorge explained, so the masses had to wait one more day to get their fix. And when that day came, there were … not that many doughnuts. The consolation was plenty of coffee from local roaster Hawthorne, which offers espresso, lattes, pour-overs and more.
That night, the Holey crew – led by pastry chef Katie Romenesko – hotfooted into the kitchen six hours earlier than the night before to more than double production for the next day. That put the doughnut count at a little less than 1,000. Another 200-300 doughnuts were expected to be added the next day.
Why the mania? Coffee and doughnuts have been a thing since way before it became the fuzz’s favorite breakfast. According to lore, Washington Irving first used the term “dough nut” in print back in 1809. In those days, the pastries were indeed little nuts of fried dough. Rings came later. Rings with sprinkles and Cap’n Crunch on top came much later. Doughnuts weren’t cool until shops in Portland, Ore., Brooklyn, N.Y., and Chicago made them so.
Holey Moley, in Milwaukee Cupcake Company’s old lobby location, opened with 12 kinds of made-from-scratch pastries, including holes and a seasonal fritter. Flavors will vary, but Sorge expects four to six staples. They start plain with a simple glazed cake doughnut and end bold – such as the yeast-raised Violet Beauregarde, filled with blueberry jam and covered in blueberry cream cheese frosting. During opening week, the madness meant the product wasn’t consistent from day to day.
The simpler choices (glazed cake) surpassed the more complicated in flavor and texture. But to be fair, Holey had also barely gotten its feet wet. I feel compelled to check the quality every day.
More compelling than the doughnuts themselves is the hysteria. C. Adams Bakery in Milwaukee Public Market planned to roll out a line of doughnuts in late August. More doughnut dons may follow. If things keep going like this, we’re going to see the return of Sansabelt pants.