DEARBORN — For the past 51 years, a popular local donut shop and coffee bar has been witness to the cultural changes that swept the city.
Located on Ford Road, a few miles east of the Southfield Freeway, Donutville, which has been in business since July 4, 1966, has served as a gathering place for residents of various races, creeds and religious beliefs. They’ve come to Donutville, which is open 24 hours, and talked politics, religion and the general news of the day, according to owner Mark Porada. Customers can be heard discussing any topic, ranging from important issues, such as the mass shooting in Las Vegas, to a critique of a contestant on “The Voice.”
Porada’s father, Al, a retired Dearborn policeman, opened Donutville in 1966 with a fellow officer after coming up with the idea inside a Dunkin Donuts on break together in the 1950s. During that first year, Ford Road was being widened and was completely closed, so the senior Porada and his partner almost went bankrupt. Porada said that finances were so strapped that his mother worked the counter while pregnant with him.
“My dad worked eight hours in the squad car,” Porada told The AANews. “Then he would go work eight hours baking, then go sleep for the other eight.”
The two officers did not know how to bake, so Al Porada attended a Mr. Donut seminar in Wisconsin for two weeks to learn how to bake a great donut. He returned with the new cooking methods, the donut shop survived and has been able to prosper during the ever-changing times over the last five decades.
Porada said he goes to the Arabic bakeries around town all the time to get cakes and other beautiful, intricate pastries, and that he loves them. He said he doesn’t see donuts in most of those bakeries, and for that reason he thinks there is less competition between the different establishments.