You know your city is in a good place when tickets for its first donut festival sell out in eight hours. And you know it's in an even better place when you can name the best donut shop in most every neighborhood in the entire city... which we just did.
Here's a handy map of top-tier donut shops across TWENTY ONE different Chicago neighborhoods.
Best Donut Shop: Glazed & Infused (click here for address and deets)
While there're five Glazed shops around the city, this diabolical location always snares us coming off the Armitage Brown Line. The go-to? The trusty Maple Bacon Long John, a yeast-raised, chocolate-coated LJ with a strip of thick-sliced, peppered-bacon that’s been glazed in syrup. Glazed. In Syrup.
Best Donut Shop: Endgrain (click here for address and deets)
If you haven't had the doughscuit from Enoch's Doughnuts, you should maybe do that. This honey-glazed, cream-layered hybrid pastry will make you forget the word “Cronut”. Also worth mentioning: their Bourbon Vanilla donut is made with Buffalo Trace-infused vanilla beans.
Best Donut Shop: Dinkel's Bakery (click here for address and deets)
This from-scratch bakery is an OG that's been producing killer pastries for 90+yrs. Their yeast-raised bismarck's filled with raspberry jam, making it unbeatable.
Best Donut Shop: Stan's Donuts (click here for address and deets)
This donut shop from LA sports a kitschy, retro vibe, and serves simple donuts with a tchotchke's-worth of flare. Think: Biscoff-stuffed, choco chip-covered "pockets", and twisted cinnamon pretzels.
Best Donut Shop: Beavers (click here for address and deets)
The purveyors of mini-buttermilk donuts make 'em hot off the conveyor belt and cover them with s'mores toppings, or put them into a milkshake, because, Chicago.
Best Donut Shop: West Town Bakery (click here for address and deets)
This innovative donut dispensary has been known to put out doughssants (a Long John-style Cronut), candied bacon/whiskey/maple donut holes, and a beer and pretzel 'nut made with 471 IPA from Breckenridge Brewery.
RIVER NORTH (TIE)
Best Donut Shop #1: Doughnut Vault (click here for address and deets)
Their giant, fluffy glazed rings are irresistible, which is part of the reason why Doughnut Vault is perpetually sold out. The Chestnut Glazed donut? It's really good.
Best Donut Shop #2: Firecakes (click here for address and deets)
The lineup includes a peanut butter cup donut packed with peanut butter cream and drizzled with Valrhona chocolate ganache and peanut brittle crumbles, as well as maple-glazed pineapple & bacon donuts.
Best Donut Shop: Delightful Pastries (click here for address and deets)
If your insatiable desire for paczki can't wait 'til next Fat Tuesday, fill your Polish donut quota here (or their Lincoln Park and French Market locations) with choice fillings like plum jelly, raspberry jelly, and custard.
Best Donut Shop: Do Rite Donuts (click here for address and deets)
The rich old-fashioned has just the right ratio of chocolate glaze to buttermilk donut, with a double-dipped Valrhona option for relapsing (or just flat-out unrepentant) chocoholics.
Best Donut Shop: Longman & Eagle's Sunday Donut Shop (click here for address and deets)
As a companion to the whiskey bar/inn's Saturday sausage shop, the Sunday donut shop pop-up brings with it a random assortment via L & E's Pastry Chef Jeremy Brutzkus, also the winner of The Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown.
Best Donut Shop: Roeser's Bakery (click here for address and deets)
In addition to the selection of traditional glazes and sprinkles, their PB&J and coconut cake donuts are the ones you want to get.
Best Donut Shop: Scafuri Bakery (click here for address and deets)
Mixing Nutella and donuts just seems unfair, especially in the case of the Nutella Bomb, which then adds in an espresso glaze and toasted hazelnuts.
Best Donut Shop: Nightwood (click here for address and deets)
No brunch (or life?) is complete without a bacon butterscotch donut filled with dark chocolate custard and covered in vanilla glaze & pistachio crumble.
Best Donut Shop: Glazed & Infused Pop-Up at Sol Cafe (click here for address and deets)
Because Glazed & Infused could not be contained to five shops, Sol is one of the many independent coffee shops dealing a custom assortment of Glazed's goodness, like the Lucky Charms donut for St. Paddy's Day.
Best Donut Shop: Swedish Bakery (click here for address and deets)
This is where you go to get an éclair-ish chocolate custard bismarck -- a fried donut filled with house-made egg custard and topped with sprinkles.
Best Donut Shop: Somethin' Sweet Donuts (click here for address and deets)
Bucking the artisan trend, Somethin' Sweet offers a traditional spread of donuts that, for less than $1 each, may be the best bang for your buck as far as sweets go in the city.
Best Donut Shop: Abundance Bakery (click here for address and deets)
Known for their carmel upside-down cakes, this South Side pastry haven houses Krispy Kreme-rivaling glazeds and a sandwich-sized strawberry jelly donut.
Best Donut Shop: Bridgeport Bakery (click here for address and deets)
Look for the apple cinnamon rolls, powdered sugar custard bismarks, and toasted coconut donuts at this unassuming storefront.
Best Donut Shop: Huck Finn Restaurant (click here for address and deets)
This local chain offers up oversized donuts, as well as a vanilla-frosted cinnamon crunch number. Get the former. And... the latter?
Best Donut Shop: Dat Donut (click here for address and deets)
The South Side's 24hr donut mecca has hand-cut rings frosted with chocolate, caramel, or strawberry, as well as a giant, glazed donut because, again, Chicago.
Best Donut Shop: Old Fashioned Donuts (click here for address and deets)
With apple fritters that're the size of a small child, and Texas glazed donuts that could fit on a dinner plate, maybe you can reuse their boxes when moving out of your apartment?
Sean Cooley is Thrillist's Chicago Editor, and he lives his life by Anthony Kiedis lyrics. Follow him @SeanCooley.
1. Endgrain1851 W Addison St, Chicago
2. Doughnut Vault401 N Franklin St, Chicago
3. Firecakes68 W Hubbard St, Chicago
4. Do Rite Donuts50 W Randolph St, Chicago
5. Dinkel's Bakery3329 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
6. Stan's Donuts & Coffee1560 N Damen Ave, Chicago
7. Longman & Eagle2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
8. Beavers Coffee and Donuts131 N Clinton St, Chicago
9. West Town Bakery & Diner1916 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
10. Swedish Bakery5348 N Clark St, Chicago
11. Scafuri Bakery1337 W Taylor St, Chicago
12. Dat Donut8249 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago
13. Old Fashioned Donuts11248 S Michigan Ave, Chicago
14. Sol Café1615 W Howard St, Chicago
15. Somethin' Sweet Donuts5111 W. Fullerton Ave, Chicago
16. Huck Finn Restaurant3414 S Archer Ave, Chicago
17. Delightful Pastries5927 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago
18. Abundance Bakery105 E 47th St, Chicago
19. Nightwood Restaurant2119 S Halsted St, Chicago
20. Bridgeport Bakery2907 S Archer Ave, Chicago
21. Glazed & Infused939 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
22. Roeser's Bakery3216 W North Ave, Chicago
Endgrain is a Roscoe Village, farm-fresh restaurant that's turning out innovative cuisine (think fried chicken with PORK GRAVY and bacon/butterscotch donuts).
This wildly popular fried-dough purveyor in River North (it has a second location in West Loop and a "Vault Van" that changes location every day) breaks hearts with its limited amount of fresh-baked donuts. DV only bakes a certain amount of donuts every day, and once they run out, they're gone 'til the next morning. The dense, old fashioned-style donuts come in flavors like buttermilk glazed, toasted almond, and lemon-poppy seed. Stop by on the early side (it opens at 8am on weekdays, 9:30am on weekends) for the best selection and the shortest lines.
The latest addition to Chicago's coffee-dunking circuit, Firecakes is a small-batch donut shop from the owner of La Madia, rotating a roster of sweetness like Tahitian vanilla glazed, blood orange and raspberry jelly, and Nutella long johns that'll provide a comfortable home for your (hazel)nuts.
Carving out a tiny, counter-service storefront in Petterino's, the chef duo behind DRD includes an L20 vet, who's now cranking out small batches (only three dozen at a time) of fried dough in 10 rotating varieties (maple w/ candied bacon, open-face jellies w/ peanut butter mousse & raspberry jam...), and a proprietary Dark Matter blend designed as the perfect accompaniment to a donut, knocking off previous title holder The Rest of the Donuts.
Dinkel's is serving up some insanely delicious baked goods, but be sure to hone in on their donuts and specialized cakes.
It goes without saying, but Stan most definitely is the man because of his myriad of fresh-baked 'nuts and fresh-made coffee.
Longman & Eagle, the Michelin-starred gastropub in Logan Square, has an exclusive whiskey selection (clocking in at over 400 labels), a craft cocktail menu, and an extensive beer list all fit for the most pretentious of drinkers, in the least pretentious of atmospheres. Longman takes a flavor-forward, honest approach to eating and drinking, and because it doesn’t accept reservations, there is always a wait for brunch, happy hour, and dinner alike. (And it is always worth it.) While whiskey may be king, the regional American fare has just as much to offer, hence the Michelin star. The menu changes often, but expect anything from beef tallow beignets and veal brains to wild boar sloppy joes, chicken and waffles, and a burger that, if you know what's good for you, you will order.
Beavers Coffee and Donuts serves up delicious drinks and pastries, and occasionally has been known to combine the two into some crazy Frankenstein milkshakes.
With its graffiti walls and funky atmosphere, this joint features all-week booze, and menu items from carrot cake waffles drizzled with cream cheese icing and pineapple-caramel sauce, to grass-fed steak benedict with crispy onions and enough Cabernet hollandaise to have you needing a cab to get home.
Swedish Bakery is an Andersonville institution specializing in Scandinavian-style baked goods. With nearly a century of baking under its belt, the storefront produces pastries, petit fours, coffeecakes, cookies, wedding cakes, and more for the sweets seekers of Chicago. While they cover their ground in offering all things dessert, their Swedish specialty pastries -- including marzipan cakes, almond tarts, and Tosca tortes -- are the spirit behind the bakery.
Scafuri is an Italian blessing -- their pastries and treats are that good.
Dat Donut is open 24hrs, so you can have their delicious doughy treats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You shouldn't, but it's possible. Also possible -- getting down on a giant doughnut that's roughly the size of your head for about $3.
Old Fashioned Donuts has delicious, melt-in-your-mouth pastries that include a huge Texas donut and an even bigger apple fritter -- so maybe you should bring a friend.
Sol Café in Rogers Park is all about locally sourced ingredients and products, and selling donuts from Glazed and Infused is a delicious step in the right direction.
When you are hankerin' for something sweet, isn't it best to go to a place where that's the name? The answer is yes, because these guys sling cheap and delicious 'nuts that are baked fresh every day.
Huck Finn serves up wholesome breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, in addition to their famous (and scrumptious) donuts.
The name pretty much says it all. This Jefferson Park dessert-stop can satisfy any sweet tooth with their donuts, cakes, cookies, brownies and more.
In the biz since 1990, the cake-masters at Abundance are serving up creative confections -- from wedding cakes to pecan-covered chocolate numbers and more out of their homey shop.
This farm-to-table eatery is home to all things artisanal and local, and only serves up eats that're in season. Stop in for bites like their house corned beef on rye crouton bread, served with chopped liver and egg.
Would you like fresh-out-of-the-oven breads? How about made-to-order cakes? Even some of Chicago's best donuts? Prepare to have all of your sweet-tooth needs met at Bridgeport, where they're offering up the best in local pastries.
Glazed & Infused is a doughnut-and-dessert eatery with locations in a few places around the city -- and they're serving up treats like the Maple Bacon Long John with maple frosting and a strip of candied bacon. CANDIED. BACON.
This historic family-owned bakery is known for its ultra-creative custom cakes (ie. hot dog, barber pole, and Wonder Woman cakes). They also offer traditional wedding cakes, cookies, tortes, and low-glycemic options.