Tradition lives at Hinkley Bakery in Jackson, MI! Opened in 1913, all the donuts are made by hand using century old recipes and they still use the original oven. Current proprietor Brian Hinkley is the fourth generation of his family to run the place. They are so popular that there is guaranteed a line out the door and down the sidewalk, no matter what time you arrive.
Now, I am no fan of standing in line, but here it is not only a requirement (unless you call in ahead of time, but what’s the fun of that?), but it can be very helpful for the first timer in forming a plan of attack and to fully soak up the scene. Once you work your way inside the door, you can watch trays of hot donuts hustled from the kitchen, into the glass cases. A woman comes from the back, shouting updates to the crowd, “Long johns in ten (minutes), donut holes in fifteen!” The man directly in front of me stepped aside, explaining he will wait for the long johns.
The best seller at Hinkley is the chocolate crescent, shaped like a giant North Carolina hushpuppy, with a schmear of rich, dark chocolate on top. Still slightly warm, these donuts are simply sublime! The young man who waited on me highly recommended the blueberry crescent, which had a soft, muffin-like interior packed with the fruit. The cream cheese pastry was doughy soft, with a gooey ribbon of icing on top a thick layer of cream cheese. In a clear case of great timing, a tray of glazed donuts were brought out just a few seconds before I was asked for my order. Unlike the inconsequential glazed donuts you will find in national chains, these are substantial, weighty sinkers standing over two inches tall and they are immensely satisfying. Other highlights included the dense cinnamon sugar and the gnarly edged cake donut. Everything sampled was extraordinary.
Hinkley Bakery is currently open Wednesday through Saturday from 5:15AM to 1:00PM.