Herman Hayes, or uncle Herm, is a native Detroiter who has been baking doughnuts since 1979. He got his start as a night shift baker and ration manager in the army. Afterward, he apprenticed with the Detroit Athletic Club which ultimately positioned him to become the lead baker and trainer for 12 Dawn Donut stores. In 1997, the stars aligned when he met Jackie Victor and Ann Perrault of Avalon Breads and became their manager of wholesale production and distribution. Things were going well until 2006, when his nephew, the late rapper J Dilla, tragically passed away from Lupus, just three days after producing his legendary album, Donuts. Uncle Herm’s life purpose became instantly clear. He had been honing his craft for over 30 years, but now he knew why: to commemorate the memory of his nephew through their shared love for donuts. Because beats and donuts…they’re both made best before sunrise.
Dilla’s Delights LLC is a specialty donut shop founded by Detroiter Herman A. Hayes in honor of his nephew, legendary music icon James Dewitt Yancey (J.Dilla), the city of Detroit and its culture, as well as the historic and celebrated Motown music image it is so widely recognized for. We specialize in decadent, organic, and all-natural donut products that pay homage to the City’s landmarks and influential artists.
Signature donuts include:
Fantastic Fritters (named after J.Dilla’s “Slum Village” album “ Fantastic”): Yeast-raised donuts that feature naturally dried cranberries, orange zest and hint of delicious cinnamon.
Tiger Tails (in honor of our neighbors, the Detroit Tigers): Our classic yeast-raised donut, hand-rolled into an oblong twist, resembling a tiger tail.
Conant Garden Glazed: Dilla’s Delights house donut is the customary airy glazed donut in the shape of a “D” giving recognition of J.Dilla’s teenage neighborhood Conant Gardens.
East Side Eclair: Oblong, yeast-raised donut with house-made Bavarian Cream with a hint of Bailey’s Irish Cream. This donut represents the countless historic occurrences, landmarks and people a part of the east side of Detroit.
McNasty Macaroons: Plain cake donut, glazed and tossed in house-made macaroons, a Dilla Delights original. One of J. Dilla’s hip-hop aliases was “McNasty” a well known name to the Detroit’s music underground scene.
Black Bottom Beat Street Blueberry: A cake donut with fresh blueberries, served glazed and unglazed. The “Black Bottom” name serves as a reminder of home to the Dilla’s Delights family, and the vibrant mid-century Detroit neighborhood that housed the largest concentration of African American owned businesses in the country and was renowned for its music and community culture.
Dilla’s Delights LLC is located in the Downtown Detroit’s business district in the heart of Harmonie Park. “Delights” refers to Dilla’s daughters, now aged 14 and 15, who have always been the delights of his life.
Once the counter, tables, stools, display cases, and lighting fixtures are in place, I can begin the licensing and inspection process to open my doors before Thanksgiving.