Dilla’s Delights (Detroit, MI)

After a brief detour back to Lebanon to write up Muriel’s Donuts for donut day, I’m returning to my Detroit-area reviews, and, interestingly enough, staying with the donut theme for another review. My whole reason for being in Detroit was volunteering at The FIRST Robotics Champsionships, and that event had portions scheduled at both Cobo Hall and Ford Field, and I ended up walking between the two more than a few times. So, when I was given a box of stuff over to Ford Field, and then asked “hey, can you grab some donuts or snacks for the guys setting things up?” my immediate answer was “I’ve got this!”. I was sure of this, since I knew my route will take me right by Dilla’s Delights.

I had first happened across Dilla’s a few days earlier: located in the end of an apartment building, Dilla’s is in a wedge-shaped storefront resulting from the intersection of the Grand Circus’s radial streets with the linear streets of the regular Detroit grid, making for a ~25 degree angle store. The name is a tribute, the owner named the bakery after his nephew, the late rapper and record produce rJ Dilla who was a rising star in hip hop before dying of a rare blood disease (after, ironically, releasing an album called Donuts), and who even used to live in the building above when it was the Milner Hotel. Dilla’s uncle, Herman, has been making and distributing donuts around downtown since 2013 (indeed, I think they do the donuts for Roasting Plant, one of my favorite downtown coffee stops), but in 2016, finally had a chance to open up a storefront.

For those looking for a wide menu of food options, this isn’t really the place for that: the menu here is almost entirely “donuts”, but they make up for it with both quality and variety: on my visit, they had over 16 different donut varieties. Some of these are the classics: the John Doe (plain cake donuts), the Conant Street (basic glazed), or the Beverly Bavarian (classic cream-filled donut), but they’ve also got more than a few interesting varieties, including the McNasty Macaroon, the Cake Boy with chocolate ganache, the Beat Street blueberry, or the Banana Bread.

Grabbing an assortment of donuts, I was on my way. The two I ate were a Beverly Bavarian (shown) and a Conant Street. Both were great examples of classic donuts done well: the Bavarian was light, fluffy and airy inside, with a crispy exterior, a pleasingly smooth and vanilla-rich custard, and an immaculate chocolate glaze. The Conant street was a similarly airy and crispy donut with a perfectly applied glaze that still had a slight crunch to it (one of the great challenges with glazed donuts is serving them before the glaze absorbs moisture).

Overall, Dilla’s was a nice little spot. The donuts were spot-on perfect (and well-received by the folks at Ford Field), the staff friendly and conservational, and it’s a nice little addition to the neighborhood. And a fitting tribute to the late musician as well!

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