Eat & Drink

Here’s The Ultimate Doughnut-Crawl Itinerary Through Chicago (Yes, Really)

New York masters the hot dog, LA rules with tasty tacos. And Chicago? It rolls them both over with the street side snack to give you the ultimate sugar high – doughnuts.

To quote the wise words of Homer J Simpson, “Mmmm doughnuts – is there anything they can’t do?” Doughnuts may not be the go-to for a detox diet, but when in the Windy City, it’s be a rookie error not to surrender to the devilishly divine sugary treat. Reason being? Chicago is literally built on fried dough with doughnut shops just as bountiful as there are in flavours.

Cakey, filled, raised, stuffed with jams – the locals don’t discriminate when it comes to both original and unusual tastes. To scope out where Chicagoans go to cure their weakness for the glazed ring, here’s the ultimate doughnut crawl itinerary by foot to make even Homer drool with envy.

Doughnut Vault

Sometimes you just can’t go past the old tried and tested recipe and Doughnut Vault doesn’t disappoint.

This Chicago favourite serves artisanal handmade doughnuts in classic flavours so mouth-watering you would want to order by the dozen. Buttermilk, pistachio, triple chocolate, and lemon poppy seed – all a hit with locals. Eat in its cosy shop enclave or grab it from its cutesy corner side shop window.

  • Doughnut Vault, 401 N Franklin Street, Chicago
  • Directions: To get onto your next sugar rush, head north and turn right onto W Hubbard Street and walk east. Estimated journey time – 6 minutes (if not walking off a full stomach of doughnuts!)

Firecakes – River North

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Firecakes’ Ice cream sandwiches will leave you with a sugar hangover. Image: Firecakes / Facebook

When doughnuts are based off a closely guarded family recipe, you know it’s a big deal.

Dating back to the 1930s, William “Billy” Hobbs cooked his doughnuts to perfection with simple supplies – a cast iron pot over an open fire with his doughnut topped off with a bit of sugar. Fast forward to 2019, and the doughnuts served up here keep the family tradition alive and well.

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Image: Firecakes / Facebook

Firecakes serves a variety of doughnuts daily including the classics, seasonal, and its signature creations on vacations. Its doughnut ice cream sandwiches are one to leave you with the ultimate sugar hangover.

It includes Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream and Valhrona Chocolate sauce crammed between a glazed honey doughnut. Cue sugar rush body twitches.

  • Firecakes – River North, 68 W Hubbard Street
  • Directions: Walk east down W.Hubbard Street and turn left into N State Street until you reach E Ohio Street and turn a right. Estimated journey time – 7 minutes.

West Town Bakery – River North

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Image: West Town Bakery / Facebook

One out of three locations, West Town Bakery is a Chicago institution for its tame yet wonderful varieties of the doughy kind.

West Town Bakery’s too-cool-for-school, graffiti wall interior will make you want to kick back in its spacious seated area and take your time to devour its delightful doughnuts.

Its chocolate, peanut butter and granola doughnut are every bit amazing as it sounds. If you want to get into full character mode, there’s also the pink iced, rainbow sprinkled ‘Homer’ doughnut to leave you drooling like your doughnut hero.

  • West Town Bakery – River North, 15 E Ohio Street (Multiple locations)
  • Directions: To find the next best doughnut, head east and turn left on Michigan Avenue and then right onto E Erie St. (Journey time – 9 minutes)

Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken

Only in America can you anticipate the marriage between doughnuts and chicken being a wholesome one.

Luckily, the folk behind Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken understand the delicious union of bringing together savoury and sweet to present the most delectable of doughnut combinations, including chicken.

Selling both doughnuts and sandwiches at its Streetsville location, people can choose to upgrade their bun to have fried chicken served in a doughnut for an extra $1.

Its menu changes regularly, however, ones you can always expect to find are buttermilk and cinnamon, and for your drooling pleasure, candied maple bacon.

It’s not all about the meat as there are three varieties of vegan doughnuts available including spiced maple Chai, orange olive oil and vegan double chocolate.

  • Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken, 233 E Erie St, Chicago (Multiple locations)

(Lead image: Do-rite Donuts & Chicken / Facebook via @alwaysbeeating)