Heading west on I-94, two prominent landmarks indicate that you’ve left Ann Arbor and entered my fair city of Ypsilanti. On your left is Eastern Michigan University, and you can hardly miss our infamous water tower (you know the one!). Less visually striking, but just as welcome is the unmistakable aroma of Dom’s Bakeries’ doughnuts wafting gently through your window. Just like one of those old cartoons where a delicious smell forms itself into a hand, lifts the character up and carries them to the source, it draws you inextricably into the sweet and doughy depths of the store on Washtenaw Avenue at Cornell. Dom’s Bakeries is an Ypsilanti institution and the kind of guilty pleasure that gives a city its character. They don’t have a social networking expert increasing their profile – heck, they don’t even have a website – but what they do have is a loyal, almost fanatical following.
Ypsilanti is a city filled with working people on early or late shifts and students with insane schedules who need a place like Dom’s Bakeries that offers doughnuts anytime day or night. I can tell you from experience that their doughnuts taste best at 3 a.m., a warm and comforting hug of sugar to pull you through that all-nighter. Everyone that works there appears to be of one kind, happy family and they welcome customers from all walks of life, making each customer feel special.
Dom’s Bakeries consists of a couple of huge cases filled with all sorts of fabulous foods. From croissants and muffins to the simple perfection of a glazed doughnut, they have everything you want. One of my favorite offerings is one that every bakery does a little differently: the apple fritter. Dom’s are huge, with little bits of real apple and a hint of cinnamon, and get wonderfully gooey when you give microwave them for a few seconds. They also make wedding and other cakes for that special occasion.
The atmosphere is no frills – they don’t have wifi, and absent are the overstuffed couches and cute knickknacks of some boutique bakeries. There are just a couple of bare tables with chairs where you can rub elbows with the real people of Ypsi as you chow down. No mocha or cappuccino here, but you can grab some hot black coffee or a little bottle of milk to wash down your sinful selection in a perfect pairing. They only take cash but you really only need a handful of change to make Dom’s a part of your day, as most of their pastries are under a dollar. Their cheap prices, drive-thru and policy of never, ever, being closed makes Dom’s Bakeries a quick and easy way to taste an Ypsilanti classic.
~Jasmine Zweifler, feature writer