The Doughnut Vault, Chicago
There is probably just one thing in the whole world that would cause me to stand in line at 8 am in the rain, and that is DONUTS! Chubby, sticky, lick-your-fingers-clean little morsels from heaven (as I otherwise call them).
If you’re in Chicago, there’s just one place to get yer donut fix—The Doughnut Vault in River North. This months-old tiny closet of a shop (literally, it used to be a bank vault) sells homemade donuts Tuesday-Saturday until they’re gone, which can happen in just two to three hours. Hence why one must be in line before the vault opens at 8:30 am (9:30 Saturdays).
Much to my delight, I woke up to rain. I say delight because I was running a teensy bit behind schedule (do not cross me in the mornings before I’ve had my first donut), and I was worried I might not make it through the line before my sister picked me up at 9 am sharp for our four hour road trip. Let me tell you, if you’re not bringing a box of donuts with you on a four hour road trip, you’re doing it wrong.
I decided to power walk/jog the several blocks (also in hopes of burning off the previous day’s Chick-fil-A and Girl and the Goat). I kid you not, when I got to Grand Street (three blocks from the Vault) I could smell the precious things. Like a horse with a carrot dangling in front of him, I picked up my pace.
As fate would have it, there were only 15 patrons in front of me when I arrived 15 minutes before showtime. Fifteen minutes after the vault opened (and $15 later—steep, I know), I was the proud owner of one of each flavor (buttermilk old fashioned cake donut, gingerbread stack, and chocolate, vanilla, and chestnut glazed). Things to remember before you pass out in a chubby donut haze: it’s cash only, and you can only buy a dozen per person (but if the customer in front of you is just getting a few, they can give you the rest of their allotment).
These puppies were worth every lost minute of sleep and awkward jogging-in-civilian-clothes step. Hands down, my favorite was the old fashioned cake donut, and that’s crazy, because I am always, always, ALWAYS a glazed girl. What can you do, it was unlike any donut I had ever tasted. It wasn’t dry and heavy; it actually melted in my mouth. I accidentally polished off the whole thing before we arrived in Milwaukee (JK, it wasn’t an accident. I didn’t want to share that baby with anyone). Vanilla glazed was my strong runner-up.
Do whatever you have to do to get there—awkward run/gallop and everything. And if we’re ever standing in line together, and you’re not ordering a dozen, please consider allocating your excess little morsels from heaven to me.