For Mill Valley lovers of deliciousness, the hits just keep coming.

Bob’s Donuts, which has been doling out dynamite donuts for more than 60 years and is a Bay Area’s treasured institution, opened its Tam Junction location at 252 Almonte, the former longtime home of the Bamboo Hut across the street from CNL Native Plant Nursery and Proof Lab.

In doing so, the donut colossus reminded Mill Valley residents that the family behind Bob’s Donuts has a long history in Mill Valley.

“We’ve always wanted a business in Marin,” says Aya Ahn, whose family lived in the Almonte neighborhood of Mill Valley from 2000 to 2012 before moving to San Rafael. “We lived up on Morningsun and I was a regular customer at the Bamboo Hut.” Their children attended Strawberry Point Elementary School, Mill Valley Middle School and then went to Redwood High as they were drawn to its rowing program.

But while Mill Valley donut lovers have been in heaven since their arrival in late 2022, the Mill Valley Film Festival is ready to celebrate the family’s rich donut history.

“Circle of Donuts,” a documentary short by Tokyo director Toshikazu Hosoki, is scheduled to screen at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Oct. 6, 13 and 16. The 10-minute film profiles Aya Ahn, owner and head chef of Bob’s Donuts. The 11-day fest is also set to feature new releases from heavy hitters like Sofia Coppola and Hayao Miyazaki. 

Hosoki lives in Tokyo, but in 2022, he spent five months visiting a friend in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood, just blocks from Bob’s Donuts. After a friend introduced him to the shop, he returned nearly every day. On a midnight visit to pick up his favorite doughnut (an old-fashioned), he had a conversation with Ahn. Hosoki was surprised when she greeted him in Japanese, as he said that he’d rarely met a Japanese woman who owned a restaurant, especially as an immigrant. Right away he knew he wanted to make a film about her.

Unlike the 24-7 service at the original location on 1621 Polk Street, Bob’s hours in Mill Valley to start are 5am-1pm this weekend, 5am-5pm going forward and eventually extended to 9pm if foot traffic dictates. The team plans to incorporate accordion doors to open up the space and eventually provide an outdoor eating experience in the coming months.

After the passing of the shop’s namesake, Eleanor Ahn took over the shop in 1977, keeping it in the family’s hands ever since. Daughter Aya Ahn and her husband took over the business in 2001 after Eleanor passed away, and have continued to run the shop with family ever since. Bob’s opened a second location in 2019 on Baker St. near Divisadero. 


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