“We lived in an old stone country house on a canal that emptied into the Saint Clair River,” writes Patti Smith in her memoirish book about nothing, M Train. “There were no cafes within walking distance. My one respite was the coffee machine at 7-Eleven. On Saturday morning I would rise early and walk a quarter mile to 7-Eleven and get a large black coffee and a glazed donut. Then I would stop at the lot behind the fish-and-tackle store, a simple, whitewashed cement outpost. To me it looked like Tangier, though I had never been there. I sat on the ground in the corner surrounded by low white walls, shelving real time, free to rove the smooth bridge connecting past and present. My Morocco.”
Black coffee in a paper cup and a classic glazed at All Day Donuts is the smooth bridge that connects Patti Smith’s Michigan town in the 1980s to Brunswick in the twenty-teens. Call this work of imagination Your America – a low, orange-brick industrial building like something you might find on the outskirts of a small Midwestern town. The food vans – Beatbox, Taco Truck – are in the garage out back. The waitstaff style is carnival tattoo. The tables are bright truck-stop melamine.
The donuts are artisan, though, with glazes like rose creme and chocolate sprinkles or blowtorched lime brulee. The classic glazed is a big fluffy number, less mawkish than the chainstore version, though it sure isn’t a health-food breakfast.
The coffee comes from Seven Seeds, batch-brewed and poured at the counter while you wait. It’ll be one of the seasonal filter roasts – maybe Compartmento Alta Guatemala, a washed bourbon from Huehuetenango – tasting notes of caramel, plum, milk chocolate. It’s a donut-friendly brew, though the paper cup does it no favours.
When you’re done, it all goes in the bin: paper cup, donut box, pretty pink paper napkin. Your America fades like any other American dream, leaving nothing more than donut sticky on your fingers and the vague memory of an over-stuffed trashcan.
All Day Donuts
Where 12 Edward Street, Brunswick
When Fri 8am–3pm, Sat 8am–4pm, Sun 9am–4pm