The Ten: Delightfully Decadent Doughnuts

2 Sparrows Maple Bacon Donut

Maple & Bacon at 2 Sparrows

Doughnuts are nothing new, of course. But, the way that modern chefs are elevating the foodstuff beyond its typical glazed or chocolate-covered entrapments is extraordinary. With toppings that range from bacon to Madagascar vanilla glaze, peanuts to cream cheese frosting, there seem to be few ingredients that prove too daring for Windy City doughnut makers. To wit, we’ve, um, rounded-up our favorite places to grab these gourmet fried dough delights:

Glazed and Infused

It’s hard to find a Chicago neighborhood these days that doesn’t include an outpost of this cheeky-titled brand.  The varieties rotate but always include staples such as the sweet and savory Maple Bacon Long John and the Fruit Fritter. The proprietors recently unveiled an all-new menu item: the Gluten-Less doughnut. So, even the wheat-averse can soon enjoy these sweet tweets.

Endgrain

It’s worth taking a trip to this Roscoe Village restaurant for brunch or dinner. But, if you happen to be cruising the neighborhood in the morning, it would behoove you to stop in for an Enoch’s doughnut (named for chef Enoch Simpson) and a cup of La Colombe coffee. The former Girl & The Goat toque is known for his spectacular doughnuts that come in inventive flavors like Nutella milkstout.

Do-Rite

Jeff Mahin and Francis Brennan aren’t just doughnut makers, they are key chefs in the Lettuce Entertain You enterprise and soon plan to open new restaurants themselves. In the meantime, they’re still cranking out the rounds that downtown craves. Along with drool-worthy choices like Vanilla Bean Glazed Cinnamon Crunch, they also offer a special gluten-free and vegan choice daily.

Doughnut Vault

Brendan Sodikoff’s hole-in-the-wall shop gets a lot of credit for sparking the local doughnut craze. There are still lines out the door every weekend to grab go-to flavors including Birthday Cake and Coconut Old Fashioned.

Firecakes

Jonathon Fox has been cooking up pizza next-door for years, but he’s quickly making a name for himself in the doughnut game, too. Stop by this month for the Pink Vanilla Ice. The proceeds help benefit the Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer research.

Nightwood

Heralded chef Jason Vincent serves up tantalizing entrées at dinner time, but his doughnuts are a big draw at brunch, as well. Make sure to check out the bacon butterscotch variety, if it’s on the menu.

Fritz Pastry

A few things separate the Fritz doughnut from the pack. For one thing, they are square instead of round. Also, they’re vegan. Moreover, the area usually occupied by a big empty hole in the middle is here filled by a mini-treat — the munchkin! They are also huge, so grab a friend because you may need help devouring the thing.

2 Sparrows

This quaint brunch spot keeps a rotation of pop tarts and doughnuts on its otherwise rather sophisticated brunch menu. But that doesn’t mean you should skip these comparably comfy treats. The Maple & Bacon (pictured above) is a classic favorite. And, for a limited time, you can get your pumpkin fix somewhere other than Starbucks with the Pumpkin Spice Glaze.

Hot Chocolate

Mindy Segal is one of the best pastry chefs in Chicago. So, naturally, her dessert menu is full of delectable choices. The doughnuts, although one of the more simple options, are delicious. These brioche rounds are served with a variety of accoutrements. This month, it’s a seasonal selection: hot fudge and caramel corn.

Dinkel’s Bakery

This family bakery, opened in 1922, predates the contemporary doughnut craze by decades. Yet, the place still holds its own, with classic glazed and powdered sugar varieties that may long outlive the trendy gourmet spins of today.

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