BAR HARBOR — Those in search of a fresh donut, any time of day, need only follow their noses to Bayside Landing at the corner of Cottage and Main streets.
“You smell the sugar,” said General Manager Christopher Kemna. “It’s the first thing you smell.”
Graffiti Donuts has been open since Fourth of July weekend and has been working to fill a need for donuts and sweet treats since then.
“There was a huge gap there,” said Kemna, who noted that when they first opened, lots of businesses got boxes of donuts to help promote the new venture. “Our idea was to saturate the town with donuts.”
That strategy, with the help of social media, paid off. Most people who were treated to the donuts returned for more and recommended them to friends and guests of their businesses. Without an official sign out front pointing customers toward their location, which is behind Testa’s inside Bayside Landing, word of mouth has built a decent business.
“It has bought us some time to perfect our concoctions,” said Kemna, adding that signs are on their way to help lure new customers in to enjoy a donut or donut-centered dessert, which are offered until 10 p.m., seven days a week. “We keep someone back there making donuts all day long until 10 p.m.”
In addition to custom-made donut flavors, visitors to Graffiti Donuts can also choose to have a donut ice cream sandwich, a donut ice cream sundae or a cereal milk milkshake, among other choices. “People looking to splurge a little bit, this is their place,” said Kemna. “We’re trying to make it a dessert destination.”
Kemna is also the general manager at Testa’s Bar and Grill and another new restaurant located in Bayside Landing called The Loft Raw Bar and Seafood Lounge. All the restaurants are owned by Chris Jeffers and Danielle Zyvoloski, who took ownership of Testa’s a few years ago.
“They really are the masterminds behind it,” said Kemna, explaining how they worked all winter to come up with the menu for The Loft.
Located on the second floor across the alley from Testa’s, The Loft has become somewhat of a late-night destination for both visitors and those who work in the service industry around town.
As a raw bar and seafood lounge, The Loft offers one of the more unique menus in town.
“We’re trying to raise the bar for food in town,” said Kemna. “The idea was to set ourselves apart. We can serve oysters right up until 1 a.m. We don’t close the kitchen any time before we close the restaurant.”
Oysters served at The Loft are sourced as close to Mount Desert Island as possible, he added. Customers can also choose from crab claws, king crab legs and vegan fried chicken (a fried lobster mushroom), also sourced locally. There is also smoked pork belly that can be paired with a craft beer from the tap or any of the specialty liquors at the bar. Kemna describes the unique spirit offerings as, “stuff you can’t get anywhere else.”
Opening two new businesses to start this season seemed like a roll of the dice, but the risk is paying off for Jeffers and Zyvoloski.
“Going into this year, we were anticipating our busiest year ever and it has been,” said Kemna, referring to customer traffic for all three locations. “They’re three totally different spots with different clientele with completely different products.”