When Dainty Maid shop owner David Hab died Feb. 5, 2016, the bakery closed shop at 231 S. Michigan St. in South Bend. For six months the downtown area was devastatingly devoid of the usual smells of freshly baking doughnuts, until the long arm of the law swooped in to rescue the shop and its following of hungry customers.
In late August, Clare, Michigan-based Cops and Doughnuts bought the bakery, restoring the shop and reviving some of the same recipes that first drew customers to the Dainty Maid when it opened in 1928.
If you are wondering if the longtime stereotype about cops and doughnuts is true, just ask nine law enforcement officers from Clare, Michigan, who loved doughnuts so much that in 2008, they banded together to save the historic Clare Bakery, which was in danger of going out of business.
Not wanting other communities to experience the loss of freshly baked doughnuts, they sought to rescue four other establishments that needed a helping hand. Among them was the South Bend Dainty Maid.
Now dubbed Cops and Doughnuts: The Dainty Maid Precinct, customers will find an array of handmade treats displayed in a long glass case. Across from the display, customers might catch a local law enforcement officer enjoying a fresh doughnut and a steaming cup of coffee, right under a shelf full of coffee mugs with such quips as “don’t glaze me bro.”
In addition to being able to choose from the freshly baked doughnuts, bread, cakes and pies cooked up on the daily at the new bakery, officers who visit the shop get doughnuts on the house, making it all that much more difficult to resist the freshly baked treats that entice not just local law enforcement, but anyone within a block radius of the building, who are once again privy to the scents of doughnuts baking.
General manager Tammy Alstott is a veteran baker with 10 years of experience and a history of visiting the Dainty Maid before its Cops and Doughnuts transformation.
Alstott is a South Bend native whose father, Tom Grant, was a South Bend police officer. When the family took trips to downtown South Bend it always included a stop for a doughnut at the Dainty Maid.