Iconic Late-Night Apple Fritters Arrive in Fenway from the Vineyard
Starting mid-March, Back Door Donuts will pop up out of a side door of Loretta’s Last Call until 2 a.m. nightly.
Back Door Donuts—a Martha’s Vineyard icon that operates late at night, out of the back door of what is now called the Front Bakery Café—is bringing its sweet treats to Fenway’s Lansdowne Street starting on March 15. The speakeasy-style doughnut pop-up will operate out of a side door at Loretta’s Last Call from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly, doling out Back Door’s ever-popular apple fritters and more.
The Back Door Donuts legacy dates back to 1948, when Walmsley’s Bakery opened on Martha’s Vineyard. As legend has it, the staff would toss extra doughnuts out the back door during overnight prep shifts. A change of ownership and name came in 1971, but the new business, Old Stone Bakery, apparently cemented the tradition, selling late-night treats to customers who knocked on the back door. More ownership changes followed over the years, but late-night doughnut sales continued out back. It’s an official business these days, with set hours, branding—the works. But even though the secret’s out, there’s still plenty of fun to be had lining up for fresh doughnuts by the light of the moon.
The ownership team that came onboard in 2018 includes Patrick Lyons, who runs the Lyons Group in Boston, the company behind restaurants and entertainment venues including Loretta’s Last Call (hence this collaboration), Bleacher Bar, Game On, Back Bay Social, Rochambeau, Scampo, and many more.
Head pastry chef Raffi Jabri long predates that 2018 changing of hands—he’s been there since 2000—so Boston fans dreaming of years-ago visits to the Vineyard will be able to taste those same recipes at the new pop-up. (Jabri even once baked the world’s largest apple fritter, at least unofficially, weighing in at 15 pounds.)
“Doughnuts will be baked fresh every day at the new location,” general manager Tyler Heineman tells Boston. “We never sell day-olds!” The pop-up will offer an extensive array of options, including the aforementioned apple fritters, Boston cream, maple bacon, and 14 other flavors. The bakery also plans on offering special doughnuts for holidays and other occasions—look for something green on St. Patrick’s Day next week.
“This idea has been in the works for a couple years now,” says Heineman. “Expanding this iconic brand has always been on the agenda, and the location and timing finally came together in Fenway.” While the team is calling it a pop-up, there’s no definite end date on the books.
Back Door Donuts Fenway debuts on March 15; look for the neon sign reading “Donuts After Dark.” Customers can order ahead of time online, or just line up at the window.
For those craving something savory pre- or post-doughnut, the neighborhood is pretty friendly to late-night dining. Tasty Burger, for example, slings juicy cheeseburgers and more until 2 a.m. nightly, while Sufra Mediterranean’s chicken tender wraps delight until midnight or 1:30 a.m., depending on the day. There’s also Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar, which is open until 2 a.m. on weekends; you’ll want to try the spicy fried dill pickles. And don’t miss Korean restaurant Sojuba, open until 1 a.m. (2 a.m. on weekends) and known for its pitchers of fruity soju.
Back Door Donuts at Loretta’s Last Call, 1 Lansdowne St., Fenway, Boston, (508) 693-3688, backdoordonuts.com; Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar, 1310 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, (617) 450-9000, citizenpub.com; Sojuba, 1265 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, (617) 424-1260, sojubaboston.com; Sufra, 52 Queensberry St., Fenway, Boston, suframediterraneanfood.com; Tasty Burger, 1301 Boylston St. (moving nearby to 86 Van Ness St. in early 2023), Fenway, Boston, 617-425-4444, tastyburger.com.