Food & Drink

Chicago’s 8 Best Under-the-Radar Donuts

Published On 07/22/2015 Published On 07/22/2015
Kailley Lindman/Thrillist
Boiler Room
Bottlefork
Nick Robins/Thrillist
Kailley Lindman/Thrillist
Anthony Barlich Photography/Thrillist
bellyQ
Carriage House
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1. Spunky Dunkers 3441 N Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60004

You really can't beat a donut spot with a drive thru, or one with an always-changing "Donut of the Month", so you're gonna want to head to this Arlington Heights joint ASAP.

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2. The Boiler Room 2210 N California, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

This industrial restaurant-slash-bar in Logan Square does pizza, beer, and general comfort food (fried cheese balls, poutine, mac & cheese) really really well. The pizza options are staggering: aside from simple cheese, pepperoni, and sausage pies, there are more than 15 specials and a build-your-own options. The Boiler Room's real claim to fame is its PB&J special: a slice of pizza, PBR tall boy, and a Jameson. There's plenty of communal tables and a great outdoor patio, and if you couldn't tell from the aforementioned PBR and whisky special, this place is a hipster destination.

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3. Bottlefork 441 N Clark, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Bottlefork has hands down the best bar food in River North. Chef Kevin Hickey and the Rockit Ranch Productions gang’s fancy snacks -- like braised beef cheek poutine -- complement head barkeep Brandon Phillips’ inventive cocktails beautifully. So if you’ve never thought to yourself, “The only thing that would make this cocktail even better is a side of popcorn sweetbreads,” now you should.

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4. Seven Lions 130 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Loop)

Elegant yet approachable, this new American clubhouse concept from Master Sommelier Alpana Singh (The Boarding House) is exactly what its Michigan Ave space called for. Chef Chris Curren’s menu is equal parts accessible and inspired, with starters ranging from fried chicken skins and pickles paired with sriracha mustard to Brussels sprout and burrata toast. Entrées run the gamut from comforting short ribs to perfectly flaky black cod with acorn squash, ricotta gnocchi, and Maitake mushrooms. And don't worry, there's alcohol, starting with Singh’s curated list of all-American wines.

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5. Pub Royale 2049 W Division, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

This Anglo-Indian pub in Wicker Park serves Indian-inspired comfort food like salt cod samosas, palak paneer, and coconut curry mussels in an eclectic space decorated with taxidermy and colorful masks. The beer-driven menu features a well-curated mix of American IPAs, German Pilsners, and ciders -- both bottled and on tap. Though spicy, savory plates are the obvious choice at Pub Royale, don't overlook the chai dulce de leche doughnuts -- or the burger.

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6. Bohemian House 11 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

This River North spot is an ode to Bohemian culture in all its manifestations, with rustic-meets-glam décor and eclectic fare that’s rooted in Central Europe. The menu, created and executed by Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos, features small plates like salt and vinegar chips and knackwurst in a blanket, large plates like spatzel and skirt steak, and unforgettable sweets like caramelized plum kolacky and an inventive take on coffee and donuts with hazelnut brittle.

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7. bellyQ 1400 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

While dining at a resto with the word "belly" in the name may make you feel weird, you should get over it and chow down on Korean short ribs and banana leaf-wrapped salmon, or opt for the likes of Thai fried chicken, wood-fired bacon 'n kimchi pancakes, or some tea-smoked duck breast served with steamed Chinese buns. Also: cocktails, wine, and beer.

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8. Carriage House 1700 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

Carriage House brings the internationally-tinged flavors of regional South Carolina to Wicker Park. A portion of the menu is dedicated to bold, interpretations of select traditional dishes, a broad collection of spirits, and family-inspired meals. This restaurant tempts you to stay for a long, Southern minute.

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