Nothing says good morning like a free doughnut, and over 1,000 were given out to Islanders last Thursday and Friday morning to kick off another season at Back Door Donuts. Longtime owners Rita Brown and Janice Casey sold their business after 17 years, and last week’s giveaway was a thank-you to them, and a hello to the community. New owners and seasonal residents Richard Friedman, David Ginsberg, and Patrick Lyons plan to hardly change a thing.
“Janice and Rita did everything right,” manager Josh Biren said in an interview with The Times. “We’re not interested in changing this business.”
Lines of people wrapped through the bakery’s front door entrance, and kids enjoyed their free doughnuts on benches outside. The sweet smell of freshly baked goodness wafted from the kitchen, where head pastry chef Rafi Jabri and his apprentice are still holding things down.
Under new ownership, minor adjustments to coffee and equipment have been made, but much of the iconic Oak Bluffs bakery will stay as familiar as we’d like it to. That means those late-night rewards from the back door will still serve up doughnuts, apple fritters, and cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. The hard part is choosing which endeavour to pursue — warm glazed, chocolate iced, jelly, Boston cream, maple bacon, butternut crunch, coconut, or cinnamon sugar. The Back Door is open from 7 pm to 1 am, and the front door, also known as MV Gourmet Cafe, is open from 7 am to 5 pm. Since we’re still in the off-season, the bakery will be open Thursday through Saturday. Come June, the front and back doors will be open seven days a week.
All three owners were on-Island last week for the season’s opening. According to a February MV Times article, Friedman is a successful real estate investor and owner of the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. He was also a frequent host of President Bill Clinton when he vacationed on the Vineyard. He has a house on Oyster Pond in Edgartown. Lyons is a pre-eminent restaurateur and owns 40 to 50 nightclubs in Boston, and Ginsberg is a minority owner of the Red Sox and Liverpool FC soccer. Ginsberg and Lyons both own homes in Chilmark.
“We’re honored to continue being stewards of this place,” Biren said. “The first few days have been great. The community has welcomed us with open arms.”
Biren knows the owners from working in the hospitality business in Boston for about a decade.
For every free doughnut handed out last week, a donation will be made to the Oak Bluffs Fire and EMS Department for its annual fireworks display in August.