Chicago has always had plenty of doughnuts, but the last five years saw an explosion of higher-quality, gourmet fried doughy treats. Sure, they cost most than Dunkin’ or even Krispy Kreme, but they’re so worth it. Once you take a bite of an Old Fashioned with a crunchy outside and a soft inside or a maple bacon long john that melts in your mouth, you’ll understand why you waited in a long line. Beware that some of these spots close when they run out of doughnuts for the day so you need to plan accordingly. If you’re ready for a sugar high that’s oh so worth it, check out some of these spots.
Doughnut Vault: This tiny space, connected to Gilt Bar in River North, kicked off the craze. You can wait in long lines for the decadent $3 doughnuts, but it’s worth it. Look for the Doughnut Vault truck parked along Green Street in the West Loop, too. 401 N. Franklin
Glazed & Infused: Although the original location tucked away behind Francesca’s Forno in Wicker Park likely will move now that the restaurant is closing, you can still find G&I doughnuts in the West Loop, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, River North and the Loop. That’s the best thing: no matter where you are, a good doughnut is just steps away. Various locations.
Do-Rite Donuts: This shop was the brainchild of two Lettuce Entertain You veterans so you know they’re good. The original spot is attached to Petterino’s in the Loop’s Theater District where you can get valrhona chocolate cake doughnuts or Michigan apple fritters. Head to its Streeterville spot and you can also get any one of numerous varieties of some of the city’s best fried chicken sandwiches (they have breakfast sandwiches, too). 50 W. Randolph and 233 E. Erie.
Firecakes: What makes Firecakes stand out is the heirloom recipe from the owner’s great grandmother and that the shop looks like it was transported from the 1940s. But don’t let the old-timey vibe fool you; these tasty treats are perfect for any modern doughnut lover. 68 W. Hubbard.
Stan’s Donuts: When this Los Angeles import announced it was coming to Chicago, it created a huge wave of excitement. The vintage vibe is only boosted by the scent of freshly baked doughnuts wafting out the door. In addition to the original Wicker Park spot located at the Damen L stop, Stan’s has shops in East Lakeview and Streeterville with a fourth headed for the South Loop. Various locations.