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Holey Rollers opening in The Paseo
The Paseo District needed a coffee shop, and Joy Belt wanted to make it happen.
Belt is the widow of the late John Belt, who is credited with reviving the Paseo District. She owns The Plunge Building, 3010 Paseo Dr.
Through another Paseo business operator, Holey Rollers was put on her radar, and she called owner Andrea Koester in January. The vegan donut company started strictly selling wholesale, then opened a food truck in 2016.
Koester said she always planned to have a brick-and-mortar location, but this was a little sooner than expected. She’s an alumna of Big Truck Tacos, where she’s seen how the food truck helped fuel the Uptown 23rd District restaurant’s success.
She and her partners, Josh Gautreaux and John Otjen, spent the summer setting up the food truck at regular locations and saving money for the shop. Zeb Gautreaux did the construction of the space.
The restaurant opens Monday at 7 a.m. in The Paseo. It will close in the afternoons for now, but Koester said she’ll expand the hours after the holiday season. She didn’t want to change the time if being open that late didn’t work initially, she said.
But she said she has a good feeling about the space after it was discovered the connection that Josh Gautreaux has to Belt. His late grandmother, Patty Johnston, once served on an arts board with Joy Belt. When Belt was new to the city, Johnston leased her an apartment.
The 800-square-foot space in Belt’s Plunge Building has a coffee bar serving coffee made with beans roasted by KLLR, Eote, and Elemental, all based in Oklahoma City.
The menu offering is more than donuts. House-made yogurt, granola, and vegan English muffins are also available. There are vegetarian and meat options for the English-muffin sandwiches. The meat, eggs, and milk are from local producers, including Marak Family Farm.
“We wanted to broaden our demographic,” she said.
Chef Tim Mort, from Urban Agrarian, is creating the new fare. He met Koester through the farm-to-table dinners that Urban hosted. He said he and Koester have plans to bring back similar dinners. Those fine dining opportunities are what convinced him to stay in Oklahoma and take the job with Holey Rollers.
Being a vegan baker isn’t as hard as he thought it would be, he said. The toughest substitute to find is for eggs, which limits what kind of pastries he can make.
Koester said she’s heard from Paseo business owners that they are excited to finally have a coffee shop in the area.
Paseo Arts District Executive Director Amanda Bleakley said coffee shops are gathering places.
“(Holey Rollers) has a built-in following that will come here, walk around and see what all we have to offer,” she said. “The shop will bring another element to Paseo, so hopefully people will come here because of the coffee and because they love the doughnuts,”
Koester and Josh Gautreaux are financially backing the shop with a small bank loan. She said she’s less worried about the money at risk – she can always make more – than she is about her own reputation as a restaurateur.
“This is my first restaurant and I hope to have many,” she said.