Dutch Girl Donuts has new owner, expects to reopen early next year

After months of new owner speculation, Paddy Lynch has bought Dutch Girl Donuts in Detroit.

Lynch is a third-generation funeral director with Lynch and Sons, operating several metro Detroit funeral homes and is the owner of Detroit’s historic bathhouse, The Schvitz.

A spring 2024 opening is planned for the long-standing spot with the iconic blue sign at 19000 Woodward Ave., in Detroit, Lynch said.

Along with buying the building and business, Jon Timmer, son of late owners Gene and Lauren Timmer, is staying on, continuing to make the doughnuts and other confections from family recipes. Jon Timmer has worked at making doughnuts for 20 years at the family-owned business.

“Dutch Girl Donuts is an institution for many Detroiters,” Lynch said in a news release. “I’m looking forward to this journey and to working with Jon Timmer to get Dutch Girl up and running in the early new year.”

After being closed since September 2021, Dutch Girl Donuts is set to reopen under new ownership in early 2024.
After being closed since September 2021, Dutch Girl Donuts is set to reopen under new ownership in early 2024.

One new aspect of Dutch Girl Donuts, Lynch revealed, is a coffee blend. Lynch is working with Becharas Brothers Coffee creating a Dutch Girl signature coffee blend.

Long-standing tradition

Before the doughnut shop closed in September 2021, Lynch said he’d been a regular “since before he can remember” as the family would stop when in the area for doughnuts.Lynch said he is excited to be the owner of Dutch Girl Donuts.

“It was kind of a wonderful part of my childhood,” he said. “I have memories of being a little boy and my dad taking me in there. So, there's a lot of personal, sentimental reasons for it.”

Lynch also said his mother, Mary Callaghan, attended Marygrove College and lived in the University district near the doughnut shop. His father, Pat, Lynch said, would frequent Dutch Girl Donuts because it was close.

Lynch, who lives in Detroit’s Arden Park, said he’d often stop in on his daily commute via Woodward Aveue to Lynch & Sons in Clawson.

Lynch said he has a real love for Detroit history and is glad to be able to help the Timmer family carry on the tradition.

“I see it more as an opportunity to be a caretaker and carry the torch for a while,” Lynch said. “I am excited to get Jon back in there. We are not looking to expand but get back to the 75-year tradition.”

Families are intertwined

Beyond the doughnut shop, both family’s ties span decades. Lynch’s cousin Tim Lynch Jr., who manages Lynch & Sons in Walled Lake, has also known the Timmer family since childhood. He handled the funeral services for Gene and Lauren Timmer as well as Gene’s mother, Cecilia, who was a founder of Dutch Girl Donuts in 1947.

Lynch’s grandfather Edward J. Lynch Jr., the founder of the family business, started his career on Woodward in Highland Park in 1948, just one year after the Timmer family opened the doughnut shop just a few miles north.Both families started their businesses on Woodward Avenue just a year apart, said Hanna Timmer Parrow, the Timmers' daughter.

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Lynch was the right choice because of that family connection, Timmer Parrow said.

“We couldn't have chosen a better person to hand this baton to," Timmer Parrow said. "I feel amazing about Paddy and the Lynch Family."

Timmer Parrow said the family received more than 30 legitimate offers.

“We wanted Dutch Girl to be cherished,” she said. “It didn’t come down to the highest price tag, it was choosing the right person, not the largest check. "

Timmer Parrow noted Lynch’s love and devotion and strong ties to the city of Detroit.

“He’s going to pick this up and it will thrive,” she said. "We’ve seen it in other projects he’s done. I think it’s what Dutch Girl deserves.”

Dutch Girl’s long history

It was the Monday after Easter this year that the family announced they’d be selling the building, but not the business.

But a few months later, Dutch Girl Donuts announced on its Facebook page that the family accepted an offer for the building as well as the business that has been around for more than 70 years.

“We have wonderful news to share! Dutch Girl has accepted an offer and very soon will be open again!” the post read.

More: Dutch Girl Donuts opens up on why it closed, says reopening is the ultimate goal

Dutch Girl Donuts was founded in 1947 by Gene Timmer's parents, John and Cecelia Timmer. Back then, it was a former Dixie Cream Donut franchise before the Timmers later renamed it.It's a shop where the cinnamon rolls were hand-rolled and hand-cut. While there have been some minor tweaks over the years, everything, Timmer Parrow told the Free Press in a previous article, was made from all original Dutch Girl recipes.

“I don’t expect anything to change," Lynch said. “And I err on the side of preservation. I hope and expect things will be like they were four to five years ago."

Contact Detroit Free Press food and restaurant writer Susan Selasky and send food and restaurant news and tips to: sselasky@freepress.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter. Subscribe to the Free Press.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dutch Girl Donuts' new owner revealed, plans early 2024 opening