If you’ve ever travelled to New England, you know of the ubiquity of that mecca of doughnuts and coffee: Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s great. I love Dunkin’ Donuts–great coffee, doughnuts, muffins, etc. etc. etc. Even growing up, not living in New England (for the most part), when we got doughnuts, that’s where we went.
I never really thought about OTHER doughnut places. But somehow, at some point, I discovered Marty’s.
Marty’s is the opposite of flashy. It’s got the wood panelling of a few decades ago and is populated with townies sitting on bar stools passing the time of day, drinking coffee, and eating large doughnuts. It took a few trips, but eventually I was won over. For less than a dollar, you can get a delicious, filling, wonderful doughnut. You never know exactly which ones they’ll have that day, but it’s never hard to find a good one. My current favorites are chocolate coconut and chocolate butter crunch. I have to recommend their Boston Creams, too. One of those doughnuts can just about get me through breakfast and lunch.
Really, though, part of the allure is that Marty’s feels like an enclave of “townieness”. I didn’t grow up in a small town, so I find them fascinating, especially those little spots where you feel like you entered the inner-workings of the place. Despite that, Marty’s isn’t only for townies. It’s also got a pretty good college following due to its unusual hours. They open at midnight when someone comes in to make the doughnuts and stay open until about noon or a little before.
Also, they have the coolest mixer I’ve ever seen. I don’t think this picture does it justice, but maybe you can get a glimpse of it anyway. See it over there on the right?
Now that I have discovered the true wonderfulness of this hidden gem, I’ve gone to Marty’s for doughnuts for Sunday morning breakfast, fuel for road trips long and short, and the “baked goods” I was supposed to bake myself, but ran out of steam for. And actually, bringing doughnuts from Marty’s gets me at least as many compliments (but usually more) than when I bake things myself. They’re just THAT good. Unfortunately, there’s no cookbook to tell you how to make these doughnuts. If you are on Boston’s North Shore, you’ll just have to come in and experience them for yourself.
Marty’s Donut Land, 8 Central Street (Rt. 1A), Ipswich, MA 01938
Hours: midnight to ??? (about noon or a little before, usually)
Sad, Sad Update:
After decades as a town institution in Ipswich, Marty’s closed last week. One of their employees wrote to tell me the terrible news (thanks, Koda), which I had heard rumors of, but hadn’t confirmed. What will Ipswich, Gordon College students, and other doughnut-lovers in the area do now? We’ll have to wait and see. Thanks for nearly 60 delicious years of doughnuts, Marty’s. We’ll miss you.