Back Door Donuts on Martha’s Vineyard has been serving up fresh donuts for decades, but trouble is now brewing at the popular spot due to one “donut hater” who has a problem with their late-night hours, and it could lead to this small business being forced to shut down.

In an effort to save Back Door Donuts and keep Donuts After Dark alive, the bakery is asking for the community’s help.

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Back Door Donuts, a Martha’s Vineyard Staple

Back Door Donuts has been a popular bakery on the island since the early '90s. After changing ownership in the early 2000s, the previous owners sold the business in 2017 to the three current owners, Dick Friedman, Patrick Lyons and David Ginsberg.

From apple fritters and freshly made coffee to mouth-watering donuts, Back Door Donuts prides itself on being the sweet spot in Oak Bluffs.

“Back Door Donuts is more than just a bakery, it’s a small business that is truly woven into the fabric of our island,” general manager Tyler Heineman said.

While the business operates during normal bakery hours, it is largely known for its late-night hours called Donuts After Dark.

'Donuts After Dark' at Back Door Donuts

“The Donuts After Dark started as a clandestine tradition for islanders who were coming home late or going to work super-early and were hungry for a bite to eat at hours when all other businesses were closed,” Heineman said. “The former owners would sell donuts to those night owls as they approached the back door of the business.”

The whisperings of back door service began to spread, and soon, dozens of people began gathering at the back door for late-night, freshly made donuts. It became a tradition.

Twenty years later, a neighbor of Back Door Donuts is raising an issue to the town that could ultimately halt the tradition.

The Not-So-Happy Neighbor of Back Door Donuts

“Our not-so-happy neighbor is upset by the noise that is produced by customers at the back door,” Heineman said. “As the business is open until midnight, this neighbor claims customers are rowdy, noisy and inconsiderate to our neighbors.

While Heineman didn't disclose the name of the upset neighbor, he stands by the belief that BDD customers are “overwhelmingly friendly.”

“We pride ourselves on being a source of joy, happiness and unification in our neighborhood, so we are disappointed to learn that one of our neighbors doesn’t view us as such,” he said.

The MV Times cites the abutter as Lynn Vera, noting she has gone before the town select board several times with complaints.

How to Learn More About the Dispute

The public can join a select board meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 4:30 p.m., at Oak Bluffs Town Hall to hear both sides of the argument. The only reference to the matter on the meeting agenda states, "Discussion and possible vote regarding Back Door Donuts operation plans."

A petition has been set up online to help the business and save its beloved tradition, the loss of which it claims would threaten its operations overall.

"Shutting down this beloved establishment would have a ripple effect on our community, affecting not only the employees but also the suppliers, neighboring businesses and the overall vibrancy of our town,"  Heineman said.

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