closing was not an option: ‘The Only Doughnut is a Belfast icon’

The Only Doughnut’s new owners ‘establishing a beautiful routine’

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 9:45pm

BELFAST — A little more than a year ago, introduced our readership to The Only Doughnut’ you’ll ever need in Belfast. 

The Only Doughnut, on Northport Avenue next to the Aubuchon Hardware Store, opened in May 2019, the brainchild of Sally Jaskold and Matt Wheeler. 

The Only Doughnut offers traditional Maine potato cake donuts in plain, chocolate, molasses, citrus, and gluten free in a variety of glazes including buttermilk, sweet cream, chocolate ganache, sea smoke, toasted coconut, maple, salted caramel, cinnamon-sugar, and citrus.

This fall, ownership of the business was transferred to Sherian Swindell and Nina Richard as the business was on the brink of closing amid the pandemic. 

“The Only Doughnut is a Belfast icon [and] a true Traditional Maine Potato Doughnut is becoming a thing of the past — seeing it close just wasn’t an option,” said Swindell. “COVID has had such a negative impact on many local establishments, but I’ve seen so many small business owners rally and start thinking creatively and outside the box — we’re taking our cues from them.” 

Taking ownership of an established business has presented Swindell and Richard with two primary challenges. 

“I severely underestimated the incredible amount of work and preparation that goes into ‘a day in the world of ‘from scratch’ doughnuts’, but we’re slowly establishing a beautiful routine and everyone has their task list,” Swindell commented. “Secondly, just letting people know where we’re located and what our days/hours of operation are. While I post routinely on social media, we have a large following that isn’t concerned with Facebook or Instagram — and that’s okay with us.” 

Despite the challenges, The Only Doughnuts’ new owners feel rewarded by the support of their customers and the community, as well as the love from family, friends, and the employees who feel way more like family. 

“At the end of every day, there’s so much to be thankful for,” said Swindell. 

A change in ownership has yet to produce many changes to the shop’s menu, though there have been a couple of additions. 

“For the most part, we’ve kept the offerings just as they were — people are creatures of habit,” commented Swindell. “But we have introduced a coffee glazed doughnut topped with a Biscoff crumble and we offer small-batch yeasted brioche doughnuts on the weekends — they’ve been incredibly popular!”

With many mouthwatering options on the menu to choose from, asked Swindell which items she would offer to any new customer who was open to trying absolutely any flavor. 

“The two most popular ‘outside of the box’ options would be our citrus doughnut with a lemon glaze [and] the Sea Smoke doughnut, which is a chocolate doughnut with a maple glaze and smoked sea salt — very delicious,” Swindell said. 

As for the future of the shop under its new owners, Swindell noted a catering arm of the operation could be explored down the road, and maybe a mobile location would be launched. 

For now though, doughnuts and coffee are being served 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.