Erin Zeli glazes doughnuts with a pomegranate glaze at The Holy Donut, 194 Park Ave. in Portland.Leigh Kellis, founder and co-owner of The Holy Donut, with a tray of pomegranate doughnuts at the 194 Park Ave. shop in Portland.Erin Zeli, of Portland, refills a selection of freshly glazed doughnuts at The Holy Donut, 194 Park Ave. in Portland.Erin Zeli, of Portland, glazes doughnuts with a pomegranate glaze at The Holy Donut, 194 Park Ave. in Portland.Charlie Johnson, of Portland, fills “The Holy Cannoli” doughnuts with a ricotta filling at The Holy Donut, 194 Park Ave. in Portland.Charlie Johnson, of Portland, fills triple berry “The Holy Cannoli” doughnuts with a ricotta filling at The Holy Donut, 194 Park Ave. in Portland.The Holy Donut will be opening a new location at at 398 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough. 

SCARBOROUGH — The Holy Donut is expanding and will soon open its first drive-through, on Route 1.

The new shop is in the former Tim Horton’s and Coldstone Creamery at 398 U.S. Route 1. About 20 people will be employed, bringing the total number of people The Holy Donut employs to about 55.

Leigh Kellis, owner and founder of The Holy Donut, said the date of the soft opening is not being revealed so the store won’t be overwhelmed. The logistics of running a larger business with a drive-through are still being worked out, she said. Hours have not been set, but unlike the business’ two Portland locations, this one will not close when the last doughnut of the day is sold.

The popular Portland business is known for making doughnuts with Maine potatoes and natural ingredients. The bakery also offers vegan and gluten-free options.

Kellis said the business uses potatoes grown in Aroostook County, roasted sweet potatoes, dark Belgian chocolate and fresh pureed berries for glazes.

She said she began making doughnuts in her Munjoy Hill apartment, with a vision of opening a single doughnut shop. In 2012, Kellis fulfilled that dream by opening her first bakery at 194 Park Ave.

Kellis said business went well and became profitable so, in 2013, a second location was opened in Portland’s Old Port, at 7 Exchange St.

Kellis co-owns the businesses with her father, Allan Kellis, and her brother-in-law, Jeff Buckwalter, both of Scarborough. She also credits her mother Cynthia, sister Elizabeth, and a cousin and a niece for their help in the family business.

Scarborough started to feel like a good demographic, Kellis said, and it became an ongoing dream to open a doughnut shop on U.S. Route 1.

“It gives us a different visibility than we ever had, being on a major throughway,” she said.

Kellis said she was originally thinking of a smaller place in the Oak Hill neighborhood, but chose to expand farther south near Lincoln Avenue and Haigis Parkway because of the location and the drive-through, walk-in refrigeration and ample parking. Cooking equipment, however, had to be installed.

She said the expansion is an ambitious goal and a big leap for a family business that began with a single, small doughnut shop.

The new 3,000-square-foot shop will have seating for 29, and will sell Coffee by Design coffee.

“They were the first coffee shop to sell my doughnuts, so they have a special place in my heart and they are great people,” Kellis said.

Kellis said breakfast sandwich offerings will be expanded to include homemade English Muffins with cage-free eggs and quality meats.

All Holy Donuts will be made with fresh dough from potatoes milled at the Scarborough location, but each shop will hand cut, hand form, cook and glaze the doughnuts. She said the business uses 1,000 pounds of potatoes a week during at the height of the summer season.

Kellis said the Scarborough building was gutted to remove its “corporate” feel and build an atmosphere that is more family-business friendly.

“We wanted to radically change the look and feel,” Kellis said. “We rebuilt with a lot of natural touches and serene color.”

Kellis has also moved to Scarborough from Portland, said she is looking forward to getting to know her new community.

“The town of Scarborough and the locals have been giving us tons of positive reinforcement and encouragement,” she said. “It is a pleasure to make donuts for the community because it makes people happy. It is the best business. We have smiling customers all day.”

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or [email protected] Follow her on [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: