From left, Hunter, Victor, Brooke, Hailey and Jon DesPrez with a selection of doughnuts at their family-owned storem Oliboli Donuts in Old Town Tustin, which opened Oct. 22. Oliboli’s uses coconut oil. The handmade dough rises over a 40-hour period.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
A freshly-dipped Bumbleberry cake doughnut made with raspberries, marion blackberries and wild blueberries at Oliboli Donuts in Old Town Tustin.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
A burnt butter bourbon bacon doughnut at Oliboli Donuts.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
Oliboli Donuts’ Oliebollen, a classic Dutch holiday treat made with with apples, currents, raisins, lemon peel and spices, is fried at their store in Old Town Tustin.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
Fry bread — described on Oliboli’s menu as “thinner, more like a tortilla or flat bread” — in the fryer at the store in Old Town Tustin.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
Jon DesPrez holds a gingerbread latte he just made at Oliboli Donuts in Old Town Tustin.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
Customers line up at Oliboli Donuts in Old Town Tustin on a Sunday morning. The store has been open since Oct. 22.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
Three Oliebollen doughnuts sit in the fry screen at Oliboli Donuts in Old Town Tustin.(Photo by Gary Ambrose)
A new doughnut shop in Old Town Tustin is producing unusual and fun flavors in a family-friendly, fun atmosphere.
Oliboli Donuts, 135 W. First St. Suite B, opened about two months ago and is already making its mark. The name is a spinoff of oliebollen, Dutch for “oil balls.”
Oliboli focuses on two styles: traditional cake (lightly crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside) and 40-hour yeast dough.
The doughnuts generally run $3 or $4 a piece. The yeast ones are made to order; the cakes are made throughout the day.
On a recent Sunday, they were offering interesting varieties like burnt butter and bourbon bacon, fry bread with apple jam and ricotta cheese, lavender sugar, “bumbleberry” (blueberry, blackberry and raspberry) and Lebkuchen (a German gingerbread). Oliebollen were also available. Some flavors will be seasonal.
Oliboli uses “biologically active, complex whole grains and stone-milled flour,” which makes its dough-making process “akin to the history of bread making.” I’ll take their word for it, because of the several varieties I tried during my visit, I’d say you won’t go wrong with anything from this shop.
The DesPrez family of Huntington Beach is running the show. Co-owners Brooke and Victor are high school sweethearts from El Modena High School who’ve been married 28 years. Their children, Hailey and Hunter, are part of the operation as well. Hailey is a University of San Francisco graduate; Hunter is in his senior year at Edison High School, where he plays baseball.
Brooke and Victor’s nephew, Jon DesPrez, also works at the shop. He is a former manager for Chick-fil-A and a coffeehouse. As a coffee guru, he brings knowledge of that for Oliboli, which uses an Astoria espresso machine.
Brooke, who was also the chef and a founder of Sidecar Doughnuts in Costa Mesa, brings the bulk of the chef know-how to Oliboli. She once ran a catering business for weddings and other events. It told stories through food. Brooke says she wanted to start this new venture because she loved spreading joy through doughnuts and was inspired by trips she made as a kid to Winchell’s on Sundays.
“Our heart’s here,” she says.
Speaking of stories, Brooke says the cactus pear doughnut was inspired by hikes in Peters Canyon.
“Cactus is very underrated, in my opinion,” she says.
Victor, a Realtor who’s also known for his prowess on the grill, helped with some of the interior design. He calls it “Scandinavian minimalist,” with its industrial touches, bright colors and concrete floor. The floor, as it were, is a leftover element from the laundry business that used to be there.
That’s why, the family says, they’re still having people show up with their laundry baskets, unaware of the change.
In the weeks Oliboli has been open, the DesPrez family says they already love their customers.
“They’re kind of an extension of this family,” Jon says.
Oliboli is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit oliboli.com.