COOL CHICAGO: The Doughnut Vault
Summary: Tiny store where locals and tourists wait in line to purchase giant $3 gourmet donuts
Neighborhood: Near North Side
Address: 401 1/2 N. Franklin St.
Cost: $2-3 per donut
Best for: Gourmet donut fans, those who worship the “birthday cake” donut
Is any donut worth waiting in line for an hour? The answer is yes to many Chicagoans and tourists who stop at the Doughnut Vault each morning for flavors like pistachio, gingerbread, powdered sugar, mocha glazed, lemon poppy seed, pineapple, birthday cake, and carrot cake. Only a handful of these flavors are available each day, so you never know what you’re going to get unless you follow the Vault on social media.
Created by Brendan Sodikoff, who also operates Gilt Bar, Au Cheval, and a number of other restaurants around town, the Doughnut Vault is one of my favorite Chicago food options. Where else can you get a chocolate sprinkle donut the size of your face? The blueberry old-fashioned donut in the center is about standard size. Compare that to the glazed and chocolate donuts. They’re all soooo delicious.
Because the Doughnut Vault is located in such a small storefront, you’ll most likely have to wait in line for a while if you go during peak hours. If you’re having trouble finding the place, just look for the line down the street.
Once inside, you’ll see why the line is so long: Because this place is tiny. The store is located inside a former bank vault (hence the name “Doughnut Vault.” See what they did there?) There’s room for less than a dozen people inside.
The Doughnut Vault makes its snacks fresh every morning, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. The store opens at 8 am from Tuesday through Friday and at 9:30 on Saturdays. Follow the store’s Twitter page for constant updates on how many of each flavor remain and how long the line is.
Would you wait in line for giant donuts?