Gourmet doughnut shops have popped up all over Chicago lately, so you’d think the appeal would be becoming a bit … uh … stale. Wrong. After tasting the moist cakes, sweet glaze and creative flavors (glazed pineapple and bacon), Chicagoans can’t get enough. Here are seven of our favorite spots.
Beaver’s Coffee and Donuts This is the place for a cheap, bite-size doughnut on the run. In the Chicago French Market beneath the Ogilvie Transportation Center, Beaver’s charges $2 for four fresh miniature cake donuts. Choose your favorite sugar-based topping (chocolate, cinnamon, powdered or granulated), and opt for a dipping sauce, like the turtle with pecans, caramel and chocolate. beaversdonuts.com
Do-Rite Donuts Indulge in a vanilla bean-glazed cinnamon crunch doughnut or a Michigan apple fritter at one of two locations. We also love the hormone-free fried chicken sandwiches at the Erie Street spot. doritedonuts.com
Doughnut Vault Go early to get their beloved glazed PB&J or old-fashioned varieties. Once they run out of doughnuts, this tiny storefront closes for the day—even if it’s only 10 a.m. The before-work crowd buys them by the dozen. doughnutvault.com
Firecakes Start with the old-fashioned buttermilk, then expand your horizons with butterscotch praline, glazed pineapple and bacon, or coconut cream. Keep an eye out for the green and silver doughnut truck as it cruises around town. firecakesdonuts.com
Glazed and Infused A crackly brûlée top and vanilla crème filling make the crème brûlée doughnut a total palate pleaser. It’s just one of the inventive flavors at this popular shop's five locations. goglazed.com
Photo courtesy of Kristi Koszewski
Old Fashioned Donuts No frills. No fancy flavors. Not even a website. Just huge, delicious “Texas” doughnuts and plate-size fritters with chunks of fresh apple. This longtime business on South Michigan Avenue is a good value, too. Get a dozen for what you’d pay for three or four at some of the other spots on this list. 773/995-7420
Stan’s Donuts and Coffee This Los Angeles-based chain has three Chicago locations. They specialize in doughnuts with “pockets” stuffed with fillings like Nutella or peanut butter. For a different treat, try silky gelato in fresh waffle cones or between two doughnut halves. Pure decadence. stansdonutschicago.com
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