GR’s Oldest Donut Shop is Van’s Pastry Shoppe
Welcome to stop #2 on the Mom & Pop Donut Stop Tour of West Michigan. (Our first stop was at Sandy’s on the NE side.)
Come along as we step back in time at Van’s Pastry Shoppe, Grand Rapids’ oldest bakery. One thing is certain, this charming pastry haven on the SE side is a treat!
The Vibe: Feeling Right at Home in the ’50s
This isn’t just any bakery—it’s THE oldest one in Grand Rapids.
David and Michelle Vander Meer, the fourth-generation owners, have managed to preserve its charm and good old-fashioned vibe.
Take a seat, and savor a bite of Grand Rapid’s history that’s been around since 1924.
The place is decked out in vintage toys, cookie jars, and memorabilia from the past.
It’s like taking a trip back to our grandparents’ kitchen.
The Donuts: Flaky, delightful, and filled with flavor, Van’s donuts are made fresh daily.
Other Stuff: Looking for Dutch Crisp Cookies? They’re baked fresh here 3 times every week.
They also sell cookies, muffins, bread, buns, rolls, and coffee cakes.
Hungry for lunch? They’ve got that too! From soup to BBQ sandwiches, check out these classically delicious options:
Coffee Alert: Plan to get hooked and fork over the $15 for the refillable coffee cup now, making your future refills only $1 each.
The Crowd: All the Regulars Loved that I Stopped By
Van’s Pastry Shop is nothing fancy and that’s the way we like it. If modern, sleek cafe vibes are what you’re after, take your high heels to MRDR.
From the owners, to employees, to customers enjoying coffee and conversation, Van’s is where anyone with a sweet tooth can take a tasty trip back in time.
Bring your toddler or your grandma. They’ll both love it. And they’ll be welcomed by the little community that Van’s has built over the years.
I’m not one to turn down an opportunity that involves donuts, so when our readers wanted to know what makes this historic bakery so special, I knew I was just the gal for the job.
Cindy has worked here for 23 years and was delighted to share stories of this Grand Rapids gem.
Vintage cookie jars in the front windows are changed out seasonally, vintage collector cars now line the cooler shelves where bottles of Pepsi used to be.
A couple enjoying coffee by the door mention they come here every week to buy dozens of donuts to take to their community fellowship dinner.
Seated at the corner table, an older man in a handsome cowboy hat has been coming here since he was young. Get this… he was seated next to a photo of himself, in the exact chair, wearing that same hat!
A blend of vintage charm and history, friendly faces, and nostalgic smells, Van’s is great for all ages. There’s a reason this little bakery has been around for four generations – you just need to go experience it for yourself.
The Standouts: Dutch Treats
Van’s knocks it out of the park when it comes to Dutch treats. They’re the same old-fashioned recipes as they used 99 years ago when John Vander Meer came to the US from the Netherlands and continued his bakery business here.
Patrons come here for their Sugar Cinnamon Bread, Almond Raisin Bread, “Olie Boelen” (fat balls), and their biggest seller, English Muffin Bread.
Their famous Hot Cross Buns, a perfect blend of dinner and cinnamon rolls, are a favorite Easter treat.
Come Christmas, folks line up at Van’s, eager for Banket. This intricate Dutch almond pastry, a holiday favorite is worth every minute of the wait.
And if you visit during fall? Get their pumpkin cake donuts with cream cheese.
If You Go
There’s a reason this little bakery has been around for four generations – its not just about the donuts, its about the people. Here’s what to know to go experience it for yourself.
📍 Van’s Pastry Shoppe, 955 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hours of Operation:
- Monday – Friday, 6 AM – 4 PM
- Saturdays, 6 AM – 1 PM
- Sundays, they’re resting.
Will You Head to Van’s for a Delightful Bite?
If you find yourself in front of Van’s Donut case, let us know about it!
Follow along as we make a few more stops on our Mom & Pop Donut Tour of West Michigan!
- Stop #1 we visited Sandy’s Donuts
- Stop #2 was our trip to Van’s Pastry Shoppe
- Tell us where we should head for Stop #3 – leave your comments below!