I don’t know how “donuts” wasn’t the topic of my very first blog post. I have an addiction, and pretty much everyone who knows me can attest to it. The crazy part is I never really ate donuts before moving back to Chicago, and I was shocked by how they had become this cultural phenomenon. I grew up with your standard Dunkin Donuts and, on very special occasions, Krispy Kremes, but the specialty donut shops that now litter the city are really bakeries. Sometimes it’s almost like you’re eating a mini cake instead of a donut, and I am here for it. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite places to go whether you’re looking for a classic glazed or an ice cream sandwich made of donuts (yes, it exists). Here are my favorites-
Donut Vault– I feel that true Chicagoans will always say Donut Vault is the best. It’s a bit of an institution around here, and the fact it has the world’s cutest facade doesn’t hurt either. The River North location (aka the cute one) tends to sell out on weekends while the Loop location is mobbed during the week. You can also get your fix at Sawada Coffee as they get a delivery every morning. I honestly judge a donut shop based on the quality of their standard glazed. If I’m using this criteria, I’ve gotta be honest- Donut Vault isn’t my favorite. However, I recently stopped by and had their seasonal blueberry which was perfection. If you’re looking for a good seasonal flavor + IG-worthy aesthetic, this is your spot.
Stan’s Donuts– If I have my facts correct, Stan’s actually started out in California. A few years ago, the owner of La Briola Bakery here in Chicago set out on a mission to expand, and it’s become quite the chain. I’m not even sure how many Stan’s exist in the city now, but I feel like they’re everywhere! I love their lemon pistachio and cinnamon sugar donut. They also have “pockets” which are essentially donuts with filling. I typically hate custard and jelly-filled donuts, but a banana nutella pocket? Sign me up! I also give their standard glazed a thumbs up.
Do-rite Donuts– This is probably the most gourmet donut on the list. There’s something about Do-Rite where you can just tell it’s really well made with high-quality ingredients. Personally, I prefer my donuts light and fluffy, but they have one called the Vahlrona Chocolate Cake that is out of this world. Do-Rite also gets my vote for the best standard glazed donut. It’s sweet, fluffy, and about as big as your head. My coworker brought me one on my birthday, and one quick bite turned into devouring the entire thing in 2 seconds. Do-Rite is on my way home from Pure Barre so Sunday mornings essentially become break a sweat, eat a donut.
Firecakes– I’ve only been here twice, but my younger brother, who also considers himself a donut connoisseur, has declared this shop his favorite. It doesn’t hurt that you can order a literal ice cream sandwich made between two donuts. I also have to say their Nutella donut is unnecessarily good, and, if there was a location closer to me, you bet I’d be there on the reg.
Bombobar– This doesn’t really qualify as a donut shop, but Bar Siena’s little side window has made bombolonis a Chicago staple. They’re essentially hole-less donuts that come with a little squeeze bottle of filling, including nutella, salted caramel, and or raspberry. Once you’re ready to eat, you start squeezing in the filling and enjoy!
Honorary Mention (RIP): Glazed and Infused- I’m still not over the loss of my absolute favorite donut place in Chicago. Glazed and Infused was my first experience with the gourmet donut trend, and it holds a special place in my heart. If I’m being honest, it probably didn’t taste much different than some of my other picks on here, but the way it was ripped away from us with no explanation continues to haunt me. RIP Glazed and Infused. You are missed.
Are you on board the donut trend, or would you rather opt for a cupcake? Let me know your favorite donut places and where else I need to try!