Back Door Donuts
Martha's Vineyard's most beloved speakeasy sells late-night pastries.
From the front, this bakery looks handsome and unassuming. Walk around the back at night, though, and you’ll stumble on a sight that practically defines Martha Vineyard summers: dozens of customers lining up to buy freshly prepared fritters and donuts through the back door between a dumpster and an alley.
This back-door business has a long history: The location has been a bakery since Walmsley’s Bakery opened there in 1948. While there are legends that Walmsley employees threw unused donuts out the back door, its first official use came after the shop changed hands and was renamed Old Stone Bakery in 1971. It became an open secret on the island that you could get a pastry late at night if you knocked on the back door and bargained with staff. As employees baked overnight, the glorious smells attracted locals and visitors alike.
While the bakery has changed ownership several times, the speakeasy-style tradition has remained a constant, only interrupted briefly in 2004 when an outcry and petitions overcame an effort to shut it down for violating town policies. The back-door business is now official, announced by the bakery seasonally, drawing lines, and ensuring giant fritters and sugary treats are available no matter the hour.
Know Before You Go
Make sure to check the website for hours. The front and the back have different schedules, and the back opens seasonally during warm weather.
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