Going berserk over donuts seems to be apropos. Nurses in clean white coats serve up your fried dough over at Psycho Donuts in Campbell, California and at Balls and Bangles in Queenstown, New Zealand you can practically go mad injecting donuts with shots of hazelnut and peanut butter. We’ve gone crazy at donut joints around the world, so when we heard about Doughnut Vault in Chicago, Illinois we immediately wanted to lock ourselves up and throw away the key.
Seeking out the best donuts in Chicago is a tough job, but we were up for the challenge. Any eatery that regularly sells out of its wares by 10:00am most days is a must see by our standards, so needless to say, we got an early start and hoofed our way over to the Doughnut Vault. Thankfully the sweet folks over at Doughnut Vault regularly update their Twitter handle @doughnutvault with their sold out status, so you don’t go braving the Chicago cold for nothing.
The artisanal donuts at Doughnut Vault get handcrafted daily during an eight hour window. Doughnut Vault is housed in a tiny brick alcove. It’s a tiny hole in the wall so small that it doesn’t even have its own kitchen, so every night the donut masters borrow their next door neighbor’s facilities over at Gilt Bar in order to have their tasty donuts ready for the next morning.
Clearly we have a special place in our hearts for donuts. Curious about some of the other types of crazy fried dough deliciousness we’ve taste tested around the globe? Here are some of our favorite donut (or doughnut) places in the world.
Doughnut Vault is part of Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt family which means that it has a slew of gastro siblings sprinkled across Chicago and New York City including the 3 Arts Club Café, 3 Greens Market, 4 Charles Prime Rib New York, Au Cheval, Bavette’s Steakhouse and Bar, C.C. Ferns Coffee Bar and Spirits, The California Clipper, Gilt Bar, Green Street Smoked Meats, High Five Ramen, Maude’s Liquor Bar, Radio Anago, Sawada Coffee, Sawada Matcha and Small Cheval. Phew.
Every week you can check out Doughnut Vault’s website to see which kinds of handcrafted donuts they have on offer.
Doughnut Vault is known predominantly for its classic old fashioned and glazed donuts, but from time to time it also whips up kooky specialties like whiskey caramel old fashioned with pecans and chocolate birthday cake.
We scored #LocalInsiderTips on where to eat, what to see and where to go in Chicago during a chat with Windy City native Lauren Schumacker. Travel like a Chi-Town local by reading our interview with Schumacker (who is a lifestyle writer and freelance journalist for Romper, INSIDER and other publications) here.
We gave the chestnut glazed donut a whirl and that bugger was delicious. Doughnut Vault may operate out a super small space, but the chestnut glazed donut they make is legitimately the same size as a full sized human head, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. We also tried the gingerbread stack which is actually a trio of gingerbread donuts and those were quite lovely as well.
There is only one very tiny counter you can belly up to at the Doughnut Vault. Its only big enough for two people to stand side by side. If you’re looking for a grab and go donut and coffee experience, Doughnut Vault is one little secret nook in Chicago that you won’t want to miss.
*Doughnut Vault also has a second, less tiny vault like location, over at 111 North Canal Street Chicago, Illinois 60606.
Address: 401 North Franklin Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654
Hours: Monday Through Friday 8:00am Until Sold Out, Saturday and Sunday 9:30am Until Sold Out
Phone: (312) 285-2830
Pricing (All in USD): Buttermilk Old Fashioned $2.75, Gingerbread Stack $3.50, Glazed Donuts (Chestnut, Vanilla or Chocolate) $3.50, Seasonal Jelly Donut $3.50, Coffee $1.00