Dan "Donuts" Delite and the Milkmaid?

Dan "Donuts" Delite and the Milkmaid?

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published February 14, 2014 and can be found here.

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

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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?

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA