Dining Chicago

After the Indulgence: Donut Fest Recap

Like a tsunami of fried dough and treacly glaze, the first annual Donut Fest has come and gone. Hosted at Chop Shop's 1st Ward event space on January 26, the deep-fried juggernaut sold out tickets and packed the house with upwards of 15 doughnut purveyors from across Chicagoland. Each spot doled out doughnut samples to attendees, along with a myriad of whole doughnuts in an array of outre flavors. Far beyond your standard glazed doughnuts and cake doughnuts, purveyors rose to the occasion with doughscuits (doughnut biscuits), bismarks, duck fat-fried doughnuts, and lots more. Here's what you missed, or if you were lucky enough to attend, here's a reminder of what you're still reeling from:


Donut Fest
(Donut Fest 2014)


The fest was a mix of trendy newbies and longtime bakery staples. Everyone from the perpetually packed Doughnut Vault to Andersonville's revered Swedish Bakery and Taylor Street's beloved Scafuri Bakery were in attendance hawking their own takes on doughnuts. The popularity of the festival and the sheer mass of vendors is solid proof that the doughnut bubble is not popping anytime soon, and that there's plenty of room for deep-fried bakeries in the market.


Nutella bombolini
(Nutella-filled bombolini from Scafuri Bakery)


Some of my favorites were the blueberry-chocolate doughnuts from Fritz Pastry, the French toast doughnut from Donut Den, and the adorably pint-sized s'mores doughnut holes from Beavers Coffee + Donuts. Mad props to Swedish Bakery for their perfectly prepared custard-filled bismarks. Even the sample size slivers were massive and borderline difficult to eat, but flavor- and texture-wise, they were comparable to a decadent slice of Boston cream pie. I also loved the Nutella-filled bombolini from Scafuri. My god. The duck fat-fried doughnuts from Chop Shop, filled with berries and glazed with maple, definitely had a duck fat flavor, which is great if you like that sort of thing, although it did sort of combat the sweetness of the confection. Cakey, moist glazed cake doughnuts from Gurnee Donuts were my favorite of the "classic" varieties, while West Town Bakery & Diner thought waaaaay outside the box with their beer and pretzel doughnut filled with spiced cookie spread. Served warm, they reminded me of that blissful moment I first sank my teeth into a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut. Then there was Endgrain's incomparable doughscuits. Less a doughnut and a more a deep-fried biscuit, they earned sweetness from pastry cream and tangy crème fraîche.


Duck fat-fried doughnuts
(Duck fat-fried doughnuts from Chop Shop)


In the end, West Town won the people's choice award, while Endgrain took home top prize from the judges. Could Donut Fest be the new annual hotness? Here's hoping.


- Matt Kirouac


Fritz offers European-inspired pastries made with local ingredients and sustainably raised produce. Look for Sarica coffee and espresso, Intelligentsia organic loose tea, and made-from-scratch, vegetarian-friendly items. No wheelchair access, but...

Fritz_food6 Fritz_food Fritz_food2 Fritz_food3

The team from The Fifty/50 and Roots Handmade Pizza is behind this two-level, 8,500-square-foot space with sit-down cafe, bakery and private party room.


Adjacent to Gilt Bar, this daily doughnut shop only offers the sweet stuff early in the morning. Customers line up at 8am for signature sweets that sell out sometimes in...

0tlix4pvrbesc8-640m 2011-08-20_08-13-43_912 2011-08-20_09-36-53_133 Wrt6di24yazjuq-640m

It's a family affair as brothers Enoch Simpson and Caleb Simpson collaborate on this ambitious restaurant project in Roscoe Village. Enoch may not be a familiar name to many, but...

Endgrain_pics Endgrain_pics2 Endgrain_pics3 Endgrain_pics4

Beavers Coffee + Donuts began as a food truck, establishing plenty of street cred for its fiendishly adored donuts and coffee. Eventually, the truck established roots at the Chicago French...

7299_589462787752086_2064119651_n 1013419_584448124920219_1489089800_n 1025638_584440791587619_527213084_o 1044501_591446750887023_1251117069_n

This multi-tiered dining and drinking destination is housed in a 100-year-old former auto body shop. Chop Shop, based in Bucktown/Wicker Park, offers a number of components that complement each other,...

A1 Chop_shop12 Chop_shop123 Chop_shop123456



Copyright © 2019 Chicago's Restaurant Guide. All Rights Reserved.