Ma’s Donuts Were Good, But Did You Ever Try Butler’s in Westport?
Growing up in Westport means you've indulged on clam cakes at Handy Hill, spilled some vanilla on your shirt at least once from Wood's Ice Cream, and most likely got a dozen (or two) donuts from Butler's Colonial Donut House after Sunday Mass.
I remember as a kid waiting impatiently during service at St. John the Baptist Church on those hot summer days. The air was always stifling and knowing that the family tradition was to get Butler's afterward was my saving grace. Again, I was a kid who didn't know any better, except for the fact that donuts were everything.
Bill and Jeanette Butler had an old-fashioned donut recipe like no other. Yeah, Ma's Donuts in New Bedford had some good ones, but I'll always be a Butler's fan at heart.
My father would get their famous "Long Johns" and a couple of jelly sticks. My mother, brother, and I stuck with the classic chocolate frosted. There was something about that creamy chocolate that melted in your mouth that was incomparable to any other chocolate frosted out there. These days, the closest thing to them is the chocolate twist over at Town Donut Shop on Route 6 in Dartmouth.
If my memory recalls, I don't ever remember the line at Butler's being short. It would always file out the door, but the service was quick.
Sadly, back in 2007, owner and baker Mario Gulinello, who bought the business from the Butler's, closed up shop and hung up his apron for good after a two-year run. The tiny donut shop that we Westporters loved and grew up with would never again reopen or be put on the market.
The day the dough mixer stopped churning was the day my childhood ended.
These days, the small donut shop is no more. A house was built in its place, unrecognizable to anyone passing by. Some think the recipe is still floating around and that other donut shops have a similar taste, but I'm not one to compare. Butler's was more than a close-by go-to place, it was a commutative gathering of locals who spent their time waiting in line, gossiping among each other. It was that look of joy on a young kid's face when they finally reached the counter to pick out their favorite donut.
To this day, I can still smell the enticing nostalgia of rising dough and the can still remember those sticky fingers we would get after eating a jelly stick that was never skimpy with the filling.
If you were lucky enough to get the chance to enjoy one of Butler's famous treats, then you already know the satisfaction that came with every bite into those warm, soft donuts that were worth the wait – and the memories.
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