Two local bartenders go nuts for donuts

Brion Zablan and Nick Cornford recently opened Purve, a donut shop – PURVE.COM

Downtown Honolulu’s newest sweet spot Purvé is gaining traction with laughable antics and delicious handcrafted donuts made to order. Founded by two former bartenders, Nick Cornford and Brion Zablan, the shop makes fresh donuts in small batches with authentic local flavor profiles.

“The name stems from the word purvey, which means to spread an idea or view,” Zablan said. “The concept behind the name and the shop is all about creating a one of a kind experience all about self expression and making people happy.”

Attached to every donut flavor is a hilarious name created by the donut duo.

“The Unicorn Butt Sneeze and You’re Killin’ Me Smalls are among the top selling donuts, but they all sell very well,” Zablan said.

It would be hard to guess the flavors by the names but after learning more about the two former bartenders, they take their cocktail creating expertise and playful attitudes into the donut naming arena.

Lemon glazed donuts are topped with Fruity Pebbles cereal for the Unicorn Butt Sneeze, and chocolate glazed donuts with graham crackers and toasted marshmallows for You’re Killin’ Me Smalls.

“Our donut combos come from trying to recreate local favorites like li hing mui, haupia, caramacs and all that,” Zablan said.

“As well as creating flavors that you have never seen as donuts,” Cornford added. “Like the Hulk Smash and Smores.”

The Hulk Smash is a donut with a mint glaze and topped with Oreo cookie crumbles. Another local favorite is the Sunburnt Haole, a lemon glazed donut with li hing mui. While the names might sound dumbfounding, the descriptions of each donut are truly delectable.

“Coming up with these combos are very similar to making cocktails as it’s all about finding that perfect balance where the flavors compliment each other rather than overpower one another.”

Nestled next to ‘Iolani Sportswear and KoAloha Handcrafted Ukuleles, the unique and local donut flavors fit right in.

“When you come here, you will feel the aloha in every interaction as opposed to the word just being thrown at you,” Cornford said.

The shop is open every day from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., quite the shift change for someone who once tended bar.

“The hours are the biggest change we’ve dealt with,” Zablan laughed. “We have gone from going home at 4:30 a.m. to now starting work at that time.”

“Thing have been amazing,” Cornford said. “We could not thank everyone enough for the love and support that we have received since day one. It’s been awesome.”

Everything from the local art work on the walls, the amazing customer service, the upbeat music and the donuts that people get to see made to order in front of them are reasons for the duo’s early success.

“The vibe is fun and uplifting,” Zablan said. “People have loved the culture that we have created.”

“Our goal is to make sure we put a smile on every face even if someone is having a bad day,” Cornford said.

The two have done a few collaborations with other companies to raise awareness for breast cancer and have catered a few birthdays and weddings as well. They plan on growing their catering side with a mobile unit that would allow them to make fresh donuts on the spot for different events.

The shop plans to extend its hours soon to seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

by Storm Cruz, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter