Sweetwater'S Donut Mill-Battle Creek
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Discover the Deliciousness of Sweetwater’s Donut Mill in Kalamazoo & Battle Creek

Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Southwest Michigan is a donut shop that’s beloved by locals and raved about all over America.

Sweetwater’s Donut Mill in Kalamazoo & Battle Creek could be considered a hidden gem, but it’s also been a community mainstay for 40 years, cranking out thousands of donuts a week and offering dozens of varieties to satisfy customers of all ages.

Whether you’re craving a traditional glazed donut, a blueberry muffin, or a specialty donut flavor, Sweetwater’s has something for every tastebud.

With three locations along I-94, Sweetwater’s is all about putting smiles on faces and has succeeded for years by sticking with what works, offering old favorites with a mix of creative flavors.

Sweetwater's Donut Mill-Kalamazoo
Sweetwater’s Donut Mill | photo via tomo_michigan

A Homegrown Business Earns National Renown

In Southwest Michigan, Sweetwater’s is nothing short of an institution. Sweetwater’s sweet treats have been enjoyed by troops in Iraq, by countless customers young and old who visit one of Sweetwater’s three locations every day, and even by people celebrating their newfound freedom.

In 1981, John Garner and his wife Kathy wanted to own their own business and bought a franchise of Mr. Donut in Sturgis. In 1983, the Garners exited their franchise agreement and in November of that year, they opened their Sweetwater’s location at 3333 Stadium Drive.

In 1986, a second location opened on Capital Avenue in Battle Creek and a third location opened on Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo in 1989.

As a Kalamazoo breakfast staple, Sweetwater’s is beloved by locals but has also been highlighted in the last 15 years by Business Insider, Buzzfeed, MSN, Thrillist, Yelp, MLive, and more.

One of Sweetwater’s most significant honors came in 2020 when they were named to the 2010 Saveur 100 List, which compiles an annual list of readers’ suggestions of their favorite foods from around the world. Sweetwater’s made the list at No. 100, and Rachel Billings of Holland had this to say about Kalamazoo’s donut institution:

You haven’t had a real doughnut until you’ve had one from Sweetwater’s Donut Mill in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

These colorful, gooey pastries are glazed, frosted, covered with sprinkles and shredded coconut, filled with custards and creams and jellies, drizzled with icing, dusted with sugar, and garnished in plenty of other creative ways.

The company makes 55 different kinds, from the standard crullers, twists, fritters, and longjohns to over-the-top peanut butter creme-frosted doughnuts with milk chocolate filling.

Thankfully, Sweetwater’s is open 24 hours a day* (they also do mail order), so you never have to let your cravings go unsatisfied.

*As of January 2024, Sweetwater’s is open daily from 5 am-8 pm.

Sweetwater's Donut Mill-Kalamazoo
Sweetwater’s Donut Mill | photo via chocoholicdude

Sweetwater’s Becomes a Community-Minded Business

Sweetwater’s Donut Mill has long been a favorite of locals and out-of-town visitors, but this longtime donut mainstay has also built a reputation as a community-minded business that’s always involved in local events.

Sweetwater’s has partnered with the Salvation Army in past years to host donut-eating contests at its Stadium Drive location. These events have featured a series of contests to see which groups or individuals could eat the most donuts within a specific time range.

On Oberon Day in March, Sweetwater’s joins in the festivities with its popular Oberon Donuts, which have been a staple since 2016. These orange-flavored donuts are designed to mimic the aroma and character of Oberon. In past years, the donut has been topped with frosty, sprinkles, pretzels, and a candy orange slice.

Sweetwater’s has also raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association for many years in October, selling special purple and yellow donuts.

Sweetwater's Donut Mill-Kalamazoo
Sweetwater’s Donut Mill | photo via tracy.ulanoski

Navigating the Sweetwater’s Menu

Upon stepping into Sweetwater’s Donut shop, customers will not only smell the sticky sweetness of donuts, but their eyes may just bulge from the size of the menu.

The menu features donuts and muffins of nearly every variety and the only questions a customer may ask are, “What do I want?” and “How many donuts do I get?”

Hungry customers craving donuts can find old favorites like powered donuts, glazed, chocolate glazed, sprinkled, and cinnamon. But Sweetwater’s doesn’t just do the basics. They do one-of-a-kind varieties that have put this Kalamazoo business on the map.

Customers who want something different can dig into one of several mouthwatering varieties that keep customers coming back time and time again. These unique donuts include:

  • Snickers: A chocolate donut covered in caramel and peanuts
  • Black Forest: A cherry-filled donut dipped in glaze and covered in cookie pieces
  • Chocolate Lovers: A chocolate donut covered in chocolate frosting and topped with M&Ms and chocolate chips
  • Smores: A chocolate donut topped with marshmallow topping and graham cracker pieces
  • Chocolate, caramel and vanilla iced long johns

Sweetwater’s doesn’t skimp on muffin varieties either, offering customers options like banana nut, double chocolate chip, blueberry, apple cinnamon, pistachio, and lemon poppyseed.

Customers who want to show their love for Sweetwater’s can also get their fill of Sweetwater’s merch, getting fun coffee mugs, colorful postcards, and even a vintage T-shirt.

Air Zoo-Kalamazoo
Air Zoo | photo via mrszablowsellshomes

Explore More of the Best of Kalamazoo

Sweetwater’s may be a can’t-miss spot in Kalamazoo, but Kzoo is full of fun and inviting things to do all year round. As the home of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo is a college town, but it’s also got an urban flair and lots of interesting history.

Visit the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum

Families looking for the perfect indoor bonding activity in Kalamazoo can visit the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum. It blends the thrills of an amusement park with the education of a museum, offering something for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors can visit the immersive D-Day 75 exhibit to get an idea of what D-Day was like for those who were there.  There are also more than 40 aircraft onsite broken down into several categories, a Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame, a Women in Air & Space exhibit, and much more.

Enjoy the Tranquility of the Kalamazoo Nature Center

West Michigan is known for its natural beauty and the Kalamazoo Nature Center is the perfect place to showcase it. It’s home to interactive exhibits and more than 15 miles of trails that take travelers past magnificent sculptures, unique habitats, and unbothered beauty.

Visitors of all ages can enjoy the tranquility offered by the Nature Center, which combines the indescribable beauty of nature with the intrigue of art.

Buy Fresh Goods at the Kalamazoo Farmer’s Market

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market, which is open from early May through November, is packed with the freshest produce and a variety of other goods. On Saturday mornings, it’s home to more than 100 vendors and is the place to be during the peak season.

Several times a year, the farmer’s market also hosts a Night Market, where customers can enjoy more food vendors, live music, and a unique shopping experience.

Historic Bridge Park-Battle Creek
Historic Bridge Park | photo via roamingthemitten

Explore More of Battle Creek

For travelers who make the journey to Sweetwater’s Battle Creek location on the corner of Beckley Road and Capital Avenue, there’s plenty more of Cereal City once customers have their donuts in hand.

Have a Quintessential Michigan Experience at Horrocks

For those who love farmer’s markets, a trip to Horrocks Farm Market is a must. While Horrock’s is well-known in Lansing, it also has a Battle Creek location about a mile down Beckley Road from Sweetwater’s. Visitors can find many varieties of fresh-cut flowers, gourmet sweet treats, fresh deli meats, and more.

Visit an Open-Air Museum at Historic Bridge Park

Historic Bridge Park in Battle Creek is a roadside attraction along I-94 that’s definitely worth visiting. This spot doubles as an open-air museum and a park with restored bridges connecting a series of park trails. 

The park has something for visitors of all ages. There is a handicap-accessible kayak and canoe launch, a playground for the kiddos, a picnic area, and more. 

Sweetwater's Donut Mill-Battle Creek
Sweetwater’s Donut Mill | photo via exploremichiganmore

Make Plans to Visit Sweetwater’s Donut Mill in Kalamazoo or Battle Creek

While donuts may be a breakfast staple, there’s never a bad time to visit Sweetwater’s. Whether you’re in the mood for a loaded chocolate donut, a jelly-filled treat, or a simple glazed donut, Sweetwater’s has more than enough options to satisfy any craving.

No matter if you’re a Michigan resident or you’re visiting from out of town, if you’re in the area Sweetwater’s is a worthy addition to any bucket list, especially when it comes to food. With more than 40 years in business and hundreds of thousands of donuts made, you owe it to yourself to make the trip and try one of these sweet delicious treats.

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