The Doughnut Vault- A lot of Taste in a Tiny Space

a box of donuts

Before heading to Chicago I did a little research to find out some interesting things to do. I had been to Chicago a few years back with Kim and wanted to find some places to visit that seemed a little more off the beaten path.

One of the places I came across was a tiny doughnut shop that was only open a couple of hours a day. Let me explain. The Doughnut Vault makes around 1,000 doughnuts per day and keeps very odd business hours. They are open Tues.-Fri. 8:00am ’til Sold Out and Saturdays 9:30am ’til Sold Out. You read that right- they have opening hours but no real closing hours. Once they sell out of their doughnuts, that’s it for the day.

a sign on a building
a blue door with yellow writing on it

We only had around 48 Hours in Chicago and trying out the Doughnut Vault was at the top of my list of things to do. It took a bit of effort to get inside the vault. On Friday morning my brother and I arrived at 11:00am and the doors were already locked. The friendly girl that works there opened the door and apologized, explaining that they were already sold out. She said that they had sold out early, about an hour before we got there. Pretty amazing- two hours open and 1,000 doughnuts sold.

I was a bit disappointed that I missed out on trying the doughnuts. I figured that I would have to try to get there on my next trip to Chicago not that I was sure when that would be…

a sign on a wall

It turned out that the Community Day Event after the O’Hare 5K Runway Run wasn’t too interesting and we were done by around 9:00am. My brother and I were thinking of what to do with the few hours we had left before heading home. I suggested giving the Doughnut Vault another try. We headed over there and arrived at 9:45,15 minutes after it had opened and the line was already around the block!

a group of people standing on a sidewalk

I didn’t really mind the line so much due to the friendly vibe in the air. The line actually added to the experience! Doughnuts were on everybody’s mind. Many people were chatting and joking around which made the time seem to move a little quicker. The Doughnut Vault also updates what is left of their inventory throughout the morning on Twitter which makes for good conversation.

After waiting on line for about 45 minutes we made it inside. The shop was tiny as could be. It was basically a hallway about ten feet long with a few mirrors hanging on the walls. We waited another 5-10 minutes before it was our turn to order.

a group of people in a room

Before ordering I was shown which doughnuts were left and ordered five. I figured that it would be nice to bring some home for Kim.

a tray of doughnuts on a rack

Here is what I ordered:

  • Two Buttermilk Old Fashioned
  • One Gingerbread Stack which actually came with 3 small doughnuts
  • One Chocolate Glazed
  • One Vanilla Glazed
a man and woman posing for a picture

The glazed doughnuts were massive. I found them to be good, not great. I preferred the vanilla glaze over the chocolate. Kim and I really enjoyed the old fashioned. They were really tasty and moist. I found the gingerbread stack to be the best deal and best tasting from what I sampled. They were sweet and spiced with a really good cakey texture to them.

Overall I found the effort worthwhile to try out The Doughnut Vault.

I can’t say that they are the best doughnuts that I’ve ever had. I can think of two in NY that are better (minus the one hour wait). However, the whole experience made it a positive and fun time.

The Doughnut Vault is located at 401 1/2 N. Franklin Street, Chicago
Twitter: @doughnutvault

One thought on “The Doughnut Vault- A lot of Taste in a Tiny Space

  1. Michael a business with a similar business plan is a Cuban Sandwich Shop in Ybor City in Tampa. They bake a certain amount of bread each morning and make Cuban Sandwiches until they have used up all the bread. Then they close the doors. Usually about 12:45. Opening about 11 A each work day. (and Saturday sometimes)

    Sandwiches are very good and fresh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *