Owner Giulio DeFilippis gets to his Middletown business, Daddy’s Donuts & Bake Shop, at 2:30 a.m. every day and doesn’t leave until 7 p.m.

But there is one reaction that makes it all worth it, a reaction as sweet as any of the doughy confections he and his wife, Tamarralee, come up with.

“Seeing little kids eating the doughnuts with a smile on their face,” said DeFillipis, a Middletown resident and father of five. “That’s what keeps me going … (and hearing) ‘That’s the best doughnut I’ve ever eaten,’ that makes me happy.”

Seeing little kids eating the doughnuts with a smile on their face. That’s what keeps me going.

DeFilippis, 48, said what differentiates his shop at 4 Fairlawn Ave. is their products are made fresh throughout the day. Instead of baking a large batch, DeFillipis will make smaller ones, starting at 5: 45 a.m., producing new doughnuts and pastries every 90 minutes or so, so that there’s always something fresh.

Even though Daddy’s just opened last November, DeFillippis is not a newcomer to the business. His family owned DeFilippis Bakery in Middletown in 1971, living in an apartment above the store. He worked there from a young age, along with his aunts and uncles.

“I grew up in the bakery,” DeFilippis said. “I would just go downstairs and I would learn everything.”

After that one was sold, he ran another branch of the family bakery in Monticello for 25 years. At first it was a pizzeria and bakery before concentrating on the bakery part. In addition, DeFilippis sold his products wholesale to area restaurants.

Credit: Daddy's Donuts
Credit: Daddy's Donuts

DeFilippis wanted to come back to Middletown to operate his business. DeFilippis sold the bakery, but kept his distributorship. He purchased a storage unit to save overhead and was running two delivery routes for a year and a half before buying the building on Fairlawn Ave.

Originally, it was supposed to just be the new home for the wholesale business, but Tamarralee, his wife of 20 years, suggested, why not open a doughnut shop? When DeFilippis would return home, his kids would always ask daddy for doughnuts.

“She came up with the name and the idea.... doughnuts are a comfort food, people will be crying about something and they’ll go home and eat a doughnut,” DeFilippis said. “It took two years to open up the place (with the proper paperwork and permits).”

It didn’t take as long for Daddy’s Donuts to become a success.

After a slow first two days, DeFilippis said by the third day, there was a line out the door and “it’s been fantastic ever since.”

Tamarralee is also responsible for coming up with the different varieties of doughnuts the store offers. While Daddy’s has the classics such as Boston creme, jelly-filled and sugar twists as well as other kinds of pastries, it also offers doughnuts covered with cereal or filled with cannoli or Nutella. One of their most popular sellers is maple-glazed bacon doughnut.

“It’s trial and error and from there it’s all up to your imagination,” DeFillipis said. “The most important thing is that the shell of the doughnut is fresh and then it can be anything.”

A typical weekday gets busy shortly after opening at 6 a.m., with plenty of cereal doughnuts for schookids. Families come by on the weekend from across the Hudson Valley area, and sometimes as far away as Pennsylvania and Long Island, which is satisfying for him.

“(Baking) is all I’ve ever done,” DeFillips said, “and I do it well.”

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