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Chicago is Going Crazy and It's all the Fault of Doughnut Vault

Where: 401 1/2 N. Franklin St. [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60654
April 22, 2011 at 11:05 AM | by | ()

If you want proof that the cupcake craze in Chicago is over, head to 401 1/2 N. Franklin, where you'll see a line snake around the block. The patient foodies are waiting for hot, fresh doughnuts from the newly opened Doughnut Vault.

In fact, those hungry patrons stay in line for up to two hours in hopes of scoring some doughnuts. To make it even worse, there's no set time the place opens, you are limited to purchasing only six doughnuts—which go for a pricey $2 to $3 apiece—and the shop closes when it runs out of goodies and people on line are left doughnutless.

To see if it was worth all of the hurdles, we joined the crazy masses around 7:45 a.m. and staked out a good spot near the front of the line. The shop's Twitter says it opens between 8 and 9 a.m., so we waited and waited, and Chicago's having record cold weather for April. The Doughnut Vault uses Twitter to announce everything from when it's finally opening to a chaos-cuasing "About 300 doughnuts left! About 75 people in line." We had to wait a freezing 50 minutes before it opened.

Everyone from Gold Coast grandmas in leopard-spotted fur coats to spandex-clad bikers was eagerly waiting in line. When the shop finally opened its doors, we entered a tiny space with an old-fashioned register, a glass chandelier and Q-Tip blasting through the speakers (which put us in a better mood). The doughnuts on offer are classic—buttermilk, a stack of smaller gingerbread, and large glazed chestnut, vanilla and chocolate—though it added pistachio to the lineup recently.

We got the six maximum with some dollar coffee and pigged out in the car. After all the waiting, we were rewarded with large, piping-hot doughnuts that melted in our mouth. The glazed vanilla was a tasty treat, but the best of the bunch was the chestnut, which had a rich maple flavor. We don't think we'd wait again on line, but we're happy we were able to munch on the delicious doughnuts.

[Photos: Jennifer Kester]

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