“It’s for doughnuts,” I said, humiliated. I was waiting in a line 50 deep for a food most often preceded by the word Dunkin’.
“Are they that good?”
Before I could answer, the lady in front of me brushed aside her long blond hair and turned to face us with a look of exasperation: “They are.”
This was Doughnut Vault: the minuscule, chandeliered vestibule (capacity: approximately four) from which doughnuts appear Tuesday through Saturday at 8:30am, only to disappear just as ephemerally approximately 12 tweets and 90 minutes later. Currently, 750 are made each day, 900 on the weekend. There is no question the rounds of fried dough that emerge from this shoebox—the creation of the restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar)—are as good as any doughnut being made in Chicago. The problem is they’re better.
“Stupid!” The Dance editor of Time Out Chicago is not one to raise his voice. “Stupidly good. The über–Krispy Kreme.” He held a chestnut-glazed doughnut, as fresh as one has ever come. I waited exactly 56 minutes for it. After the first 15 of those minutes, the couple behind me left for Sprinkles. The rest of us read novels. We played with dogs. We pretended we knew this was worth it.
I, for one, did not know. Not until I took my box of doughnuts to a bench and let my hands and face fall prey to the sticky, airy perfection that is a Doughnut Vault glazed doughnut. Do I wish the glazed doughnuts were less grotesquely large, and less than $3, and less demeaning to purchase? Yes. But I will ask no such things.
Download a podcast. Bring a long-lost friend. Get there at 8:30am. This is the doughnut we’ve been waiting for.
401 N Franklin St (twitter.com/doughnutvault). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Merchandise Mart. Bus: 65, 125, 156. Shop opens at 8:30am Tue–Fri and 9:30am Sat, and closes when doughnuts are sold out. Average doughnut: $3.