Homer's Donuts: Simpsons-inspired doughnut shop draws big crowds in N.D.G. (2024)

You won't find any day-old doughnuts at Homer's, and you would even be hard-pressed to find one that's more than an hour old.

Author of the article:

Jason Magder Montreal Gazette

Published Apr 11, 2024Last updated Apr 17, 20244 minute read

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Homer's Donuts: Simpsons-inspired doughnut shop draws big crowds in N.D.G. (1)

It’s 1 a.m., and when most people are safe and sound in their beds, Terry Axiotis’s 18-hour workday is just starting.

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The owner of Homer’s Donuts, Montreal’s newest trendy food sensation, has been blown away by the reaction to his shop. People have been lining up since Day 1 on March 25.

You won’t find any day-old doughnuts at Homer’s — it was inspired by the patriarch on The Simpsons — and you would even be hard-pressed to find one that’s more than an hour old. That’s because Homer’s is selling doughnuts faster than its crew can make them — at a current rate of about 5,000 doughnuts per day.

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On the store’s Instagram page, it lists its hours as daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — or while supplies last.

“On Day 1, we sold out completely, so we doubled our production and sold out again on Day 2,” Axiotis said Wednesday morning as he and his crew were baking and stacking boxes in preparation of another busy day. “So we doubled up every day after that, and we have been selling out every day. Now we’re maxed out. We go through 200 kilos of dough per day.”

Staff has also quadrupled to 20 from five on the first. Axiotis is hoping to hire more staff so he could maybe take a few hours off. Wednesday he said he was energized by the success, not at all bothered by the frenetic pace of working from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

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“We’re not overwhelmed; it’s always better to have more customers than less, but if you want to make everyone happy, you have to work hard,” he said.

Blame Instagram and TikTok. Influencers descended on the place in its first week, and the crowds came out in droves to sample the new product.

The longest lineup was Saturday, when customers lined up for an hour and a half to get their hands on the doughnuts, in frigid temperatures and driving rain. Lineups have been a regular feature of the store, but Axiotis said he and his staff are getting more efficient at processing orders, drastically reducing wait times in recent days.

“All of Montreal has been very supportive so far, and we hope to keep it going,” he said. “We have had people here from all over the city, but people have also told me they came from as far away as Trois-Rivières and Victoriaville.”

The overnight success was a years-long process. Axiotis took possession of the storefront on Sherbrooke St. W. at the corner of Grand Blvd. two years ago. Already a part owner at Boustan, two doors down, he wanted a product that would complement, rather than compete with, the offering at the Lebanese restaurant. He then took his time to perfect the recipes and test them out on the staff at Boustan, and other friends and family members. Axiotis tested the products again once he received and installed the proper doughnut-making equipment.

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It wasn’t the business plan to launch the shop into the social media stratosphere. In fact, Axiotis was hoping for a soft launch to properly train his staff and iron out kinks before making a big splash, so he was conscious not to make any publicity on social media.

“But one influencer came here, and then I think they all came here, and it just got huge,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be good, but we didn’t think it would take off this fast,” Axiotis added. “Doughnuts have always been around since Tim Hortons and Dunkin’ Donuts became big. Maybe because they don’t do it in store anymore, people still look for that — seeing people make a doughnut in front of them.”

Montreal is undergoing a bit of a doughnut revolution, with shops like Leché Desserts, DoughNats and Bernie Beigneleading the way. Axiotis was hoping to cash in on the trend, considering there are no major doughnut shops in the N.D.G. area.

On Wednesday, customers started walking into the shop even before its official 10 a.m. opening time, hoping to get the freshest doughnuts. Axiotis was happy to oblige.

“I live five blocks away and this was my fifth attempt to get a doughnut; I finally got six,” said Ray Hagel, holding his cardboard box. “I came three times and the lines were too long. Then I came and they were sold out. I’m just happy that they’re successful. This is a great thing to have in the ‘hood.”

In the coming weeks and months, Axiotis plans to take steps to further increase his output of doughnuts. When the weather allows, he said, he’ll install some table and chairs in the shop and outside. He also hopes to offer coffee once he can take his eye off the frenetic pace of churning out doughnuts as fast as possible.

jmagder@postmedia.com

twitter.com/jasonmagder

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