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Dan “Donuts” Delite and the Milkmaid?

February 14th, 2014

An Art-Deco style milkmaid is depicted in the floor of Donuts Delite, Rochester NY. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
If you’re a true Rochesterian you’ve probably taken many trips to Donuts Delite. And if you’ve sat in the dining room (and looked down past your doughnut-filled belly) you may have noticed a cute little milkmaid hauling her yoke and buckets full of milk across the floor.

I was curious to know how she got there and what her significance was. Of course I know milk is an ingredient in doughnuts, but it just seemed like an odd symbol to be used to represent doughnuts. There must be a story behind it…

Donuts Delite was opened in 1958 by the Malley family and was a very popular hangout for nearly five decades. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
Donuts Delite external link is now run by Salvatore’s Pizzeria and the people running the shop told me they didn’t know anything about the milkmaid. So I reached out to an old friend, Jim Malley, who’s family first opened Donuts Delite in 1958. And just as I suspected, there was a story. Here it is as told by Jim…

The milkmaid was from a previous business called the MILK MAID – a dairy and ice cream bar that did not last even one year. It was around 1957-58. The building was a great looking 50s style Modern Art-Deco design. The concept for the ice cream bar was “build your own sundaes” – it just was not a profitable idea.

Before it was a doughnut shop this building was an ice cream parlor called MILK MAID! The milkmaid is now covered up beneath Dan Delite up on the chimney. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]

The chimney at the peak of the roof also had the milkmaid featured on it and we put Dan Delite over it. There is only one small grainy photo of the Milk Maid that we have and we’ve never seen any others. I was thrilled to find that photo, and just recently my dad said that my grandfather snapped it when he was thinking about buying the building.
My grandfather bought the building after the Milk Maid closed and he opened the donut shop. Everyone told him he was crazy to re-open any business in that building. It was bought and paid for in 6 months – including equipment. It was a huge success.
I have always loved that inlay in the terrazzo floor, and it has always been a conversation piece over the years.
– Jim Malley

Now we know, up on that chimney, there’s a little milkmaid hiding behind the image of Dan Delite’s smiling face. Amazing! Maybe that’s why Dan looks so darn happy? I will try to get a copy of that old photograph from Jim so I can post it here.

Now we know why Dan Delite looks so darn happy. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
In the meantime, why not take your Valentine on a date tonight and share one of Rochester’s sweetest treats?

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014 at 7:51 am and is filed under Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Responses to “Dan “Donuts” Delite and the Milkmaid?”

  1. Vicki says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I grew up around the corner from here and would go there all the time. My sister had her first job here, as did two of my closest friends. I was so thankful that Salvatore’s not only bought the building, but agreed to keep making donuts.

  2. Renee says:

    Now that is what I call a doughnut! Donuts Delite and now Salvatores make the best doughnuts in Rochester, NY. Forget Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Horton’s, Wegmans, or Tops. They don’t know know how to make a doughnut!

  3. Mike says:

    My mom worked there in the late ’90s and used to let me fill the jelly donuts with her. I always loved that floor! Great memories of Flying Saucer donuts and other sugary treats. Kind of miss the ugly pink hue the old window screens used to cause.

  4. AH HA! Yes, I can see that! Great catch Dan!

  5. Dan Dalton says:

    Before the Milk Maid there was the Corner Store operated by the Rabin Brothers, Sam and Marty. They relocated to this site in the ’40s from 680 Park Ave. Sam received an offer from Milk Maid to lease and build. The store, a reconfigured house, was torn down to make way for this building which Sam leased and eventually sold to the Mr. Malley.
    My family has fond memories of the store and the Rabin Brothers who served the neighborhood well.
    If anyone has pictures of the old Corner Store, I would enjoy seeing a post.


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