5 Post Office Square first housed a bakery long before patrons began lining up at the back door. Walmsley's Bakery was established in the summer of 1948, and remained a pillar of the Oak Bluffs community for decades. Walmsley's was known to toss a donut or two out the back door in the wee hours of the morning. The White Family - led by Patriarch Peter White - purchased the bakery in 1971 and changed the name to Old Stone. Peter is believed to be the first to run an official sales operation from the back door. There were no hours in those days. If you wanted a donut at 4am, Peter and his staff would gladly oblige. What began as a secret known only to those "in the know" quickly became a must-do for Vineyard residents and visitors alike. Thus the tradition of Back Door Donuts was born.
In 2001, Peter White Jr. sold the bakery to Rita Brown and Janice Casey, who rebranded as Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Cafe & Bakery. Much like the White's and Walmsley's before them, the new ownership would bake a majority of their goods overnight. The smell from the kitchen engulfed the Oak Bluffs commercial district and customers would line up, at times by the hundreds.
In 2018 after 17 years of stewardship, Jan and Rita decided it was time to hang up their aprons and pass the torch to a group of local investors. The bake staff remain intact and the recipes unchanged - the Back Door tradition is alive and well.
MV Gourmet Cafe is open daily 6am - 10pm in season (Post Labor Day hours: 7am-5pm); Backdoor service is available from 7pm - 1am nightly, through October 14th.
We cater weddings and special events such as birthdays, reunions, anniversaries and holiday parties. Please email Tess@backdoordonuts.com for information.