In 1950, a man named Rudy DeSanti Sr. decided to make donuts for the customers of his butcher market, “Dreesen’s® Excelsior Market.” Like everything else in Rudy’s market, the donuts had to be the best.

Rudy Sr.’s donuts were excellent. His customers came to expect warm, fresh, delicious donuts made every morning and afternoon. Rudy was a person committed to excellence and anything short of perfection was not going to be sold in his store.

Dreesen’s® “famous donuts” eventually developed an identity of their own. As opposed to the donuts being an extra item that the butcher shop sold, customers came specifically for the donuts. One question often asked by new customers to the market was, “where is the robot that makes New York’s best donuts?” Soon, all they would need to do is look in the front window.

According to Alec Baldwin, people head for the Hamptons not for the beaches, parties, or polo, but for Dreesen’s signature treat. The classic cake donut is an unadorned ring of risen dough flecked with nutmeg. Not too sweet, not too dense, it’s the food equivalent of black lingerie: simple, classic, and eternally appealing.

ON a recent fall afternoon, the scent of fried dough, drifting out of Scoop du Jour as customers came and went, lured passers-by to the window of the ice cream shop. There, a doughnut machine dropped ring-shaped ovals of batter into bubbling oil. The machine then flipped, drained and deposited them, two by two, in a fragrant golden heap on a baker’s tray.

Even in a landscape crowded with big-chain coffee-and-doughnut drive-throughs, you can still find local spots like Scoop du Jour offering fresh small-batch doughnuts, warm from the fryer. At various places around Long Island, they include classic frosted doughnuts and specialties like the Italian doughnut called ciambella and the Hanukkah treat called sufganiyot.

Some shops, including Scoop du Jour, buy their ingredients from Dreesens Famous Donuts, owned by Rudy DeSanti Sr. The doughnuts were originally made at Dreesens Excelsior Market, an East Hampton butcher shop where his father was part owner. Mr. DeSanti closed the old market in 2003 — his son still runs a catering business from an office in the back of the building — and now licenses Dreesens Famous Donut packages (including the doughnut machines) to more than 30 shops and restaurants, mostly in the Eastern United States.

Dreesens’ old-fashioned cake doughnuts come in three flavors and are best eaten within minutes of being made. The plain doughnut is redolent of vanilla and caramel, crunchy and burnished on the outside, moist and firm inside. It is also available rolled in cinnamon sugar or coated in powdered sugar.

Dreesens’ recipe, with a twist, is also used at the Milk Pail, a country store in Water Mill about a mile from its owners’ family farm. “It’s the nostalgia that gets people,” said Amy Halsey, the co-owner of the store with her sister, Jennifer Halsey Dupree. (Generations of Halseys have been farming in the area since the 1640s.) The Milk Pail is celebrating its 40th anniversary selling the farm’s fruit and flowers along with local honey, fudge and baked goods.

Harvest season is prime time at the Halseys’ pick-your-own pumpkin and apple farm, but the autumn headliner may well be the cider doughnuts made at the Milk Pail. The Halseys add their own cider blend to Dreesens’ recipe, making doughnuts in the back of the country store year round.


Latest News

"Invite Dreesen's Famous Donuts Truck to your next event- weddings, children's parties, Bar and Bat Mitzvah's, BBQ's, Fairs. Send your guests home with a Dreesen's Donut Gift Bag- an original touch for your special event"