If you've not yet been to Doughnut Vault, well, you haven't lived. This tiny door nuzzled up against Gilt Bar (and run by the same folks), is essentially the pathway to heaven. It must be, because we can't see why hundreds of Chicagoans would line up for it if it wasn't. Don't believe us? Follow Doughnut Vault on Twitter for up-to-the-second info on the length of the line, and the count behind the counter. This spot sells out every day, so get there early, and arm yourself with some extra patience.
Doughnut Vault, 401 1/2 North Franklin Street (at Kinzie Street). Closed Sunday and Monday.
Look past the silly name, and get to thinking about some serious doughnuts. Dinkles is a full-on Chicago baked goods institution, and we could sate you with tales of breads and cakes and rolls of all sorts. Another day. Today all we want is sugar—fried sugar—and Dinkel's delivers. They feel so strongly about their doughnuts, in fact, that they've declared every Wednesday Doughnut Day, offering three doughnuts for a cool $2.99. Is it hump day yet? Dinkel's Bakery, 3329 North Lincoln Avenue (at Henderson Street); 773-281-7300.
You can get all fancy with your twitter feeds and your experimental flavors, but there's one baked goods mecca in Chicago that never has to change a thing. The Swedish Bakery is where sugary treats come to play. Known for gorgeous cakes, beautiful breads, and fluffy treats of all kinds, The Swedish Bakery also makes one hell of a doughnut. If it ain't broke, eat it. Swedish Bakery, 5348 North Clark Street (at Balmoral Avenue); 773-561-8919.
Spunky Dunkers Donuts
If you have trouble making up your mind, you might not want to make the trip to Palatine to try Spunky Dunkers. With more than 30 flavors of doughnuts on the menu, you might start to rile-up the people in line behind you waiting for these precious nuggets of yumminess. You'll find a new special seasonal doughnut on the menu each month at Spunky Dunkers, but we're hoping it stays May all year so that the Coconut Caramel Delight never leaves us. Oh, and they're open 24 hours. You know, just in case. Spunky Dunkers Donuts, 20 South Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL.; 847-358-7935.