The Angry Donut closes, maybe for the last time

BRYAN EATON/Staff photoAngry Donut and Cafe co-owner Jill Passen, left, with her daughter Olivia, closed the Newburyport shop at noon Tuesday for an undetermined amount of time.

NEWBURYPORT – A customer of The Angry Donut and Cafe said Tuesday morning that while the doughnuts are not the healthiest option out there, they may be the tastiest.

But Tuesday marked what could be the last day Derek Girouard of Newburyport and countless others will be able to pick up those treats from the Washington Street bakery after the owners decided to close the shop at least until April 7.

“It’s a bummer,” Girouard said, after coming out of the store about 8:30 a.m. with a box of doughnuts.

It was tough for co-owner Jill Passen to talk about the decision she and co-owner Tom Quill started deliberating last week when Gov. Charlie Baker announced the closure of all eat-in service at restaurants.

“It’s hard. We’ve been on the fence since restaurants closed,” Passen said. “Business has been great, but we’re pushing the envelope and people are taking this seriously.”

Taking it seriously for her has meant making sure her customers, staff and friends stayed away from the coronavirus that has spread across the globe.

To ensure everyone stayed several feet away from each other, she began allowing only two customers in the store at once. But even that was not enough to justify the business remaining open, she said.

While her store could keep busy with takeout orders, she said closing the shop would help keep people healthy — something she takes very seriously.

As for when The Angry Donut might return, Passen said that may never happen.

“I don’t know if we’re going to come back,” she said, referring not only to their Newburyport location but their Stratham, New Hampshire, shop as well.

She said it depends on their lenders and the amount of time Baker keeps restaurants closed.

Meanwhile, her daughter Olivia set up a GoFundMe page, hoping enough people donate money to the online site to make sure the business can reopen when others do.

“I know this is a challenging situation for everyone, so even sharing the page would be a positive act in supporting the business,” Olivia Passen wrote on the GoFundMe page.

On Tuesday morning, there was a steady stream of customers coming to The Angry Donut to pick up that last batch of doughnuts, or coffee or breakfast sandwiches. One person bought a gift certificate knowing full well she may not be able to use it, but she told Passen she just wanted to help.

Another customer, Leeann Cahoon, picked up several egg sandwiches and a paper jug of coffee for fellow employees at a Newburyport Industrial Park business.

“It’s really sad. It’s a small business. It’s going to be hard for them to stay open,” Cahoon said. “I hope all these businesses can get through this.”

To donate to The Angry Donut, visit: gofundme.com/f/save-the-angry-donut.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Newburyport Daily News. Email him at: drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008

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