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Dutch Girl Donuts draws fans old and new at taste test ahead of this month’s opening



Friends, family members and neighbors of the past and present owners of Dutch Girl Donuts in Detroit gathered in and around the shop Saturday morning as new owner Paddy Lynch and team turned on the equipment for a test batch of sugar-glazed, light-as-air pastries.

The surprise service was announced on the business’ Instagram story Friday, and Saturday morning there was a steady stream of fans moving in and out of the shop to grab two free doughnuts. Lynch says he hopes to have Dutch Girl open for real as soon as next weekend May 10 or 11.

“We’re going to shut down this week and regroup and get everything organized and we hope to fully open next weekend, by Mother’s Day,” said Lynch, adding that they’re probably start with eight to 10 varieties of doughnuts — glazed, cake doughnuts, custard-filled, cinnamon — and expand from there. “I’m hoping Friday or Saturday. It just depends on how this week goes.”

Andrew Barney of Detroit’s north end was able to talk his way into getting three free doughnuts because he was wearing his Dutch Girl Donuts T-shirt with old-timey blue lettering and a line drawing of a traditional Dutch girl. He got the shirt at new owner Lynch’s other revived, historic business, the Schvitz Health Club, a few miles south in Detroit.

“I’ve been a longtime patron of the Schvitz and they’ve been doing a lot of marketing for (Dutch Girl) and that’s how I was aware of it. I think it’s really cool that they’re bringing it back,” said Barney, who was saving his doughnuts to eat after his morning exercise.

Aries Schultz-Spradlin, a toddler, wasn’t waiting to enjoy his first doughnut out in the sun on Woodward Saturday morning in front of the shop. His mother I’Sha Schultz-Spradlin is a longtime customer who says Dutch Girl was always her go-to, but they were temporarily closed at a time when she really needed a sweet treat.

“They closed when I was pregnant with him and I was craving red velvet doughnut holes,” she said. “I used to work at the Schvitz and I would come grab doughnuts and go home after a shift, so when they closed I was really sad. And now I’m happy they’re open again so it’s a big moment to share with him, too.”

New owner Lynch, who is also a funeral director with the family business, Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, took over the building in November, purchased some new equipment and was working toward getting things back up to speed after it was closed for a while and suffered some damage during burglaries.

Jon Timmer — the grandson of Dutch Girl’s founders who opened the shop in 1947 — is part of the returning team of longtime employees. Timmer was in the back of the shop Saturday afternoon working on a batch of dough.

“Memories,” he said when asked why there’s so much excitement around the reopening. He’s been mentally preparing for the reopening. “It’s been hard to sleep.”

His sister Hanna Timmer Parrow was also helping out Saturday, handing out doughnuts with her daughter Helen and employee Onica Ashley, greeting longtime customers, new neighbors and old friends.

“This is incredible,” she said. “It’s extremely emotional. I’m extremely proud. It’s wonderful to see not only the old team here, but also get to meet the new team because Paddy has assembled probably the best team he could.”

Timmer Parrow, whose parents, Gene and Lauren Timmer, ran the business up until Gene’s death in 2021, was pleased with the way Dutch Girl looks today and said tasting one of the doughnuts again made her cry.

“What they’ve done to the place … I’m just floored with how beautiful it is, how they have honored the past and really just embraced it and how great it’s going to be in the future,” she said. “I know my mom and dad are beaming down, my grandma’s beaming down.”

Emotions and traditions run deep with the Timmer family and the new owner Lynch’s family also has strong memories associated with Dutch Girl Donuts. Paddy Lynch’s mother Mary Callahan Lynch of Bloomfield Hills came out to the soft opening Saturday, and recalled her husband bringing her Dutch Girl doughnuts when they were just courting and she lived nearby. Later, her husband would take Paddy.

“As soon as Paddy could eat, my husband would bring him down here to have doughnuts. He grew up with them,” said Callahan Lynch. “And then it was so sad when it closed. My son and daughter-in-law, they love to bring traditional businesses to life again like they did with the Schvitz. It’s a really wonderful rebirth of a great tradition in Detroit. We’re so excited and so proud.”

Once officially open, Dutch Girl Donuts, 19000 Woodward will keep hours of 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri. and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

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