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    Post #1 - February 28th, 2008, 8:41 pm
    Post #1 - February 28th, 2008, 8:41 pm Post #1 - February 28th, 2008, 8:41 pm
    Where are the best chocolate donuts in Chicago? About 25 yrs ago there was restuarant at Lake and Wells called the Surf that I thought had the best. Then moved and broke my heart. Does anyone know where they went (if they did relocate) or a comparable substitute?
  • Post #2 - February 28th, 2008, 8:53 pm
    Post #2 - February 28th, 2008, 8:53 pm Post #2 - February 28th, 2008, 8:53 pm
    I can't say what happened to Surf, but Old Fashioned Donuts in Roseland makes an excellent chocolate donut. And that includes the chocolate-iced yeast donut and the chocolate cake version (not sure which you meant), both varieties I enjoyed just this past Saturday. (Which reminds me of an important note: Old Fashioned Donuts is closed on Sundays).
    JiLS
  • Post #3 - February 29th, 2008, 2:46 am
    Post #3 - February 29th, 2008, 2:46 am Post #3 - February 29th, 2008, 2:46 am
    A friend of mine is in the initial stages of a casual project to document Chicago bakeries on video. Our first stop was to Dinkel's, which claims to have Chicago's best chocolate donuts.

    These are iced yellow cake donuts, not chocolate cake. I thought they were very good. The cake donut part was excellent, but the icing seemed fairly regular to me. They had other good donuts as well, particularly one that I think was made with buttermilk.

    Being on a busy stretch of Lincoln, parking could stink, but there are a couple of loading zones where you can put on the flashers and run in safely.

    Dinkel's Bakery
    3329 N. Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (773) 281-7300
    dinkels.com

    Alas, a recent hard drive problem has hindered my friend's edit on the first video, but I will keep LTH'ers abreast as the documentation continues, and recommendations are always welcome -- not that LTH hasn't already been a major source of preproduction research.
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #4 - February 29th, 2008, 6:02 am
    Post #4 - February 29th, 2008, 6:02 am Post #4 - February 29th, 2008, 6:02 am
    I drive by it all the time when visiting family, but I've never been in, how's Spunky Dunkers in Palatine?
  • Post #5 - February 29th, 2008, 6:31 am
    Post #5 - February 29th, 2008, 6:31 am Post #5 - February 29th, 2008, 6:31 am
    In today's Tribune there's an an article about things that you never walk out of the store without. Tim Bannon says
    Oak Park Bakery (904 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park; 708-383-1712): Chocolate cake doughnuts, 72 cents each. Best this side of the Ohio River. --

    You can also find thorough and lavishly illustrated discussions of this topic
    here and here.
  • Post #6 - February 29th, 2008, 7:57 am
    Post #6 - February 29th, 2008, 7:57 am Post #6 - February 29th, 2008, 7:57 am
    Welcome to the board, Keeler. If you like those donuts hot, here is a thread about places cooking donuts and various other types of fried dough throughout the day:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=14446
  • Post #7 - February 29th, 2008, 10:16 am
    Post #7 - February 29th, 2008, 10:16 am Post #7 - February 29th, 2008, 10:16 am
    jpschust wrote:I drive by it all the time when visiting family, but I've never been in, how's Spunky Dunkers in Palatine?


    Last time I went to Spunky Dunkers, it was fabulous, although I don't remember having a chocolate donut. Their fried apple donut was heavenly, though.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #8 - February 29th, 2008, 10:30 am
    Post #8 - February 29th, 2008, 10:30 am Post #8 - February 29th, 2008, 10:30 am
    Ok. So this is going to sound a little crazy. I'm not sure if it's because of very low expectaions or what, but...you know where I've had a pretty darn good donut lately?

    Dominick's. The one on Clybourn and Division. Yeah, I know! Really.

    So the first time, I was in there picking up a couple of things on my lunch hour & had a little craving so I picked up a chocolate glazed to take back to the office. It was good! I was a bit taken aback. So I got another one recently...and it was good! Nicely crisp exterior from being properly fried, yielding to a pillowy interior and nicely glazed.

    Maybe I'm crazy but those donuts were really good! Obviously, the longer they sit around, the less good they get. I went both times around noon.
  • Post #9 - February 29th, 2008, 10:43 am
    Post #9 - February 29th, 2008, 10:43 am Post #9 - February 29th, 2008, 10:43 am
    viaChgo wrote:Ok. So this is going to sound a little crazy. I'm not sure if it's because of very low expectaions or what, but...you know where I've had a pretty darn good donut lately?

    Dominick's. The one on Clybourn and Division. Yeah, I know! Really.


    L..O..L!!!
    I work near a DOM in Northbrook. After they remodeled, I went in for a dozen one day. THEY ARE GOOD! Apple fritters, Boston Cream, and even the yeast donuts are actually pretty good now. Before they did the big remodel, their donuts were nothing to speak of. Now, they are the go-to spot for the office. Plus, they are about half the price of the Dunkin Donut product, and about 3x as good. There is actually real custard in their Boston Creams now! The chocolate icing is pretty darn tasty now, as well. I thought we were alone in our new found love for the Dominick's donut.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #10 - February 29th, 2008, 11:08 am
    Post #10 - February 29th, 2008, 11:08 am Post #10 - February 29th, 2008, 11:08 am
    Years ago when I worked in Evanston, I was a big fan of Bennison's chocolate cake donuts.

    I was a bigger fan of their sour cream donuts which only appeared once a week (Thurs, I think) and were often sold out early in the morning.

    Bennison's Bakery
    1000 Davis St.
    Evanston, IL
    847-328-9434
    http://www.bennisonscakes.com/

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - February 29th, 2008, 8:10 pm
    Post #11 - February 29th, 2008, 8:10 pm Post #11 - February 29th, 2008, 8:10 pm
    Dunk Donuts on Lake Street in Melrose Park. Crisp cake donuts with a variety of toppings including maple and choclate almond. The raised donuts do not raise me much. You always get a bakers dozen for that one in the car on the way to your destination.

    Surf donuts were great. They had free popcorn and free bad wine while you waited in line at lunch until the city made them stop.

    Babaluch

    Dunk Donuts
    1912 Lake Street
    Melrose Park IL
    (708)343-0047
  • Post #12 - March 3rd, 2008, 12:16 am
    Post #12 - March 3rd, 2008, 12:16 am Post #12 - March 3rd, 2008, 12:16 am
    A recently took on a temporary assignment that requires me to get up and out early on Saturday mornings. The best part about it is getting myself a chocolate donut from Bennison's before I catch the train.

    Image

    I prefer raised donuts to the cake ones, but I haven't tried them there. But that'll be my next assignment next weekend.
  • Post #13 - March 3rd, 2008, 11:51 am
    Post #13 - March 3rd, 2008, 11:51 am Post #13 - March 3rd, 2008, 11:51 am
    Keeler wrote:Where are the best chocolate donuts in Chicago? About 25 yrs ago there was restuarant at Lake and Wells called the Surf that I thought had the best. Then moved and broke my heart. Does anyone know where they went (if they did relocate) or a comparable substitute?


    I agree, Keeler; the Surf definitely had the BEST chocolate donuts anywhere. I've yet to have one as good, and I've been looking far and wide.

    The owner, Ed Jonas, used to arrive at the Surf every day just before 4 a.m., when he began making the doughnuts and other delectable pastries he stacked up for his loyal customers. Ed was a family friend of ours, and I worked for him as a waitress one summer: I still have mouth-watering dreams about my stint there as the only time in my life my pastry jones was fed regularly! I wake up and find myself reaching for those doughnuts, that pie... (The bread pudding, made from day-old cinnamon buns, was to die for. The story behind how he created it, told in Ed's typically ribald fashion, would've made most people keel over, too.)

    But the Surf didn't move: Very sadly, Ed passed away some time ago, and the family sold the restaurant. Although he claimed his doughnut recipe was a standard one, he had a deft touch with them that so far, I've yet to see recreated.
  • Post #14 - March 3rd, 2008, 12:14 pm
    Post #14 - March 3rd, 2008, 12:14 pm Post #14 - March 3rd, 2008, 12:14 pm
    Went over to 113th and Michigan on Saturday...no apple fritters (GRRR)

    But the 6 year old REALLY loved his Texas glazed (yes, it is bigger than his head)

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    and everything I tried (3 different including chocolate cake) were all great.
  • Post #15 - March 3rd, 2008, 1:09 pm
    Post #15 - March 3rd, 2008, 1:09 pm Post #15 - March 3rd, 2008, 1:09 pm
    viaChgo wrote:Ok. So this is going to sound a little crazy. I'm not sure if it's because of very low expectaions or what, but...you know where I've had a pretty darn good donut lately?

    Dominick's. The one on Clybourn and Division. Yeah, I know! Really.

    So the first time, I was in there picking up a couple of things on my lunch hour & had a little craving so I picked up a chocolate glazed to take back to the office. It was good! I was a bit taken aback. So I got another one recently...and it was good! Nicely crisp exterior from being properly fried, yielding to a pillowy interior and nicely glazed.

    Maybe I'm crazy but those donuts were really good! Obviously, the longer they sit around, the less good they get. I went both times around noon.


    So I grabbed a donut at lunchtime today. Pretty ordinary. Looked like they weren't in the fryer as long. Interior was a little doughier than it should be. Overall, all of the donts looked sloppy today. Maybe the donut guy/gal called in sick today? I guess YMMV. Oh well.
  • Post #16 - March 3rd, 2008, 2:22 pm
    Post #16 - March 3rd, 2008, 2:22 pm Post #16 - March 3rd, 2008, 2:22 pm
    I would second the recs for both Bennison's and Dinkels donuts. I don't know as either are sublime (perhaps they would be if attained right out of the fryer), but they are definitely fresh and tasty.
    My favorite at Bennison's is actually the coconut donut. (Caveat:I worked there a million years ago.) At Dinkels I like the choc. iced cake, but also really like the choc. long john and bismark. The icing doesn't taste like wax, and the custard doesn't taste like caulking compound.
    Big pluses in this fallen world.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #17 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:20 pm
    Post #17 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:20 pm Post #17 - March 3rd, 2008, 4:20 pm
    I was lucky enough to get to Dinkel's one time when the chocolate glazed donuts were just out of the fryer. It was the most delicious donut that I have ever had. I've been back dozens of times since then, and I have never had the fortune of getting there when they are that fresh. And it's never been that good again. But it's still great.
  • Post #18 - March 3rd, 2008, 8:40 pm
    Post #18 - March 3rd, 2008, 8:40 pm Post #18 - March 3rd, 2008, 8:40 pm
    Thanks for all the tips and photos. You guys are the best. I am definitely going to try some of the recommended spots-even it means driving a distance. And to Receta, thank you for the memory about the Surf...I am toasting the owner tonight with a glass of wine but alas! no chocolate donut.
  • Post #19 - March 4th, 2008, 9:30 am
    Post #19 - March 4th, 2008, 9:30 am Post #19 - March 4th, 2008, 9:30 am
    Not sure about chocolate donuts, but I like the bismarcks at Dat Donuts, corner of 82nd and Cottage Grove. I also enjoy their glazed donuts and most anything else I've had there. I've only been to Old Fashioned once and if I lived anywhere close I'd be there every weekend, both days.

    I am in the minority who does not like Dinkel's bismarcks, or any other of their donut offerings. All their donuts lack something to my taste, a sweetness in the glazed donut, a balance in the bismarck (overwhelming amounts of chocolate and custard). I have the same problem with the donuts at Sweet Connection (Northwest Highway and Bryn Mawr), though I love their pecan rolls.
  • Post #20 - April 19th, 2008, 4:32 pm
    Post #20 - April 19th, 2008, 4:32 pm Post #20 - April 19th, 2008, 4:32 pm
    Peterson's Tasty Delight is located on Algonquin Road in Hoffman Estates, and reminds me of bakeries in the city. (What the suburbs lack) Excellent chocolate frosted cake donuts/ apple fritters/ danishes. I believe my favorite coffee shop serves Petersen's pastries.
  • Post #21 - April 20th, 2008, 11:18 am
    Post #21 - April 20th, 2008, 11:18 am Post #21 - April 20th, 2008, 11:18 am
    For my money, Impallaria Bakery in Bridgeport has some of the best chocolate cake donuts in the city. I have always been a fan of cake rather than raised, and these ones are thick, dense yet fluffy with a smooth crumb and perfectly balanced icing. My only complaint is that I wish they used a little more chocolate and a little less sugar in the creation of their icing, but I consider chocolate its own food group so your mileage may vary.

    Impallaria Bakery & Deli
    2952 S Wallace St
    Chicago, IL
    (312) 842-2146
  • Post #22 - November 15th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    Post #22 - November 15th, 2008, 2:16 pm Post #22 - November 15th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    So GF and 2 fellow foodie-friends decided to do a "donut crawl" this morning. After GF did some thorough research on LTH, she had a solid route plan starting on the far south side and heading back north. We are all fans of freshly made donuts, fritters, etc so were very excited from the get-go.

    First stop was Old Fashioned Donuts at 11248 S Michigan. We knew by looking in the front window that we came to the right place for fresh-and-still-warm donuts!

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    Proofing, frying, glazing...in all its glory!

    We decided to go with classics: apple fritter, glazed, chocolate cake and caramel cake. All very tasty and light...well, the fritter was warm and gooey, but that's the aim, right?

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    Next stop was Dat Donuts in the Chatham neighborhood at 8249 S Cottage Grove.

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    Definitely didn't have the same ambiance as OFD, even incorporating a security window/turnstile. The donuts, however, were quite good and light. We went with some cake donuts and a glazed twist. The glazed was just as light and airy as OFD, and the caramel cake donut frosting had a very good maple note to it.

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    Next to Bronzeville's Abundance Bakery at 105 E 47th (or E Tobacco Rd as stated on the canopy).

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    The owner is a very nice man, and was just tickled pink when we told him about our crawl. We got an apple fritter, raised glazed, and also some bagels and brownies (for later). These we took on the road, as it is a tiny shop and not much room to wax poetic over their delightful baked goods. The fritter was great, much more of a dry, caky style than OFD, not as sweet but equally huge. The raised glazed was very light and airy, which we all agreed was how we like that style.

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    Our fourth (and final) stop was the Bridgeport Bakery at 2907 S Archer. Another cozy little shop, they have a nice assortment of baked goods and confectionery treats.

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    Look closely at that top shelf...what is that there in the center? Could it be? Yes it is!

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    BACON BUNS!!!

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    Cream-filled, along with our Google map-enabled phone and master list.

    We were reaching our limit so chose sweet and savory. A cream-filled, chocolate-covered and a bacon bun. Dang, that is a great way to end a donut crawl!

    I wish we could've continued on to Huck Finn's and others, but our systems were starting to overload on sugar and fried dough...a solid start and there are other parts of Chicago and beyond to try on our next adventure.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #23 - December 11th, 2008, 1:24 pm
    Post #23 - December 11th, 2008, 1:24 pm Post #23 - December 11th, 2008, 1:24 pm
    wino66 wrote:Next stop was Dat Donuts in the Chatham neighborhood at 8249 S Cottage Grove. Definitely didn't have the same ambiance as OFD, even incorporating a security window/turnstile.

    Hey, don't diss Dat!

    wino66 wrote:Look closely at that top shelf...what is that there in the center? Could it be? Yes it is! BACON BUNS!!!

    I guess you realize how lucky you were. I'm not sure what time you got there but I've come up empty even before 8am. The nice ladies always remind me to call ahead to reserve bacon buns.

    wino66 wrote:I wish we could've continued on to Huck Finn's and others, but our systems were starting to overload on sugar and fried dough...a solid start and there are other parts of Chicago and beyond to try on our next adventure.

    I definitely wouldn't put Huck Finn in the same class as the places you visited (Old Fashioned, Dat, Abundance, Bridgeport) but I suppose you can do a lot worse and it is open 24 hours. Here are three more South Side bakeries that I think fall somewhere in the middle.

    If you do another South Side donut run I'd consider the often-overlooked Calumet Bakery in South Deering. Calumet reminds me of Bridgeport Bakery in many ways. They're not donut specialists but I think they do a good job and many of their pastries are very good (as well as huge bargains). I particularly liked the cinnamon donut that tasted strongly of cinnamon (sadly not always the case).

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    Impallaria was mentioned above. The last time I was there, chocolate donuts weren't available (sold out?).

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    Wagner's is an interesting old bakery in a now-Mexican neighborhood. The west side of the store has traditional European baked goods displayed in the usual glass cases. Serve-yourself Mexican pastries are found on the east side.

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    Calumet Bakery
    2510 E 106th St
    Chicago
    773-721-3747
    other locations in Lansing IL and Whiting IN

    Impallaria Bakery
    2952 S Wallace St
    Chicago
    312-842-2146

    Wagner's Bakery
    2148 W Cermak Rd
    Chicago
    773-847-8180
    Last edited by Rene G on December 15th, 2008, 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #24 - December 13th, 2008, 10:54 am
    Post #24 - December 13th, 2008, 10:54 am Post #24 - December 13th, 2008, 10:54 am
    Rene, thanks for the recs, we will try those other spots soon! And not dissing Dat's, just the warm and fuzzy ambience :lol:

    Huck Finn's is definitely more of a diner, but they do a decent job on the house-made donuts as well. Full table service does have its perks sometimes.

    And I used to live on 21st and Damen, so I know Wagner's as well. I usually went for the Mexican pastries, but an occasional eclair sure hit the spot!
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #25 - December 13th, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Post #25 - December 13th, 2008, 3:30 pm Post #25 - December 13th, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Agree with the comments on Dat Donut and others (I, too, have had good luck recently at Dominick's). But the best chocolate cake donuts I've ever eaten (and I've eaten my way through many bakeries trying to find the ideal) are at these four spots. All in the suburbs, unfortunately, but worth the drive. Interestingly, these places don't do some other things as well, but they've got the donut just right and they're consistently fresh. First two are the best out of the bunch.

    Tag's Bakery in Evanston (I think better, fresher than Bennison's in EVanston)
    Continental Bakery in Mt. Prospect
    Country Donuts in Crystal Lake
    Cake Box in Arlington Heights
  • Post #26 - December 13th, 2008, 4:18 pm
    Post #26 - December 13th, 2008, 4:18 pm Post #26 - December 13th, 2008, 4:18 pm
    wino66 wrote:Rene, thanks for the recs, we will try those other spots soon! And not dissing Dat's, just the warm and fuzzy ambience :lol:

    Huck Finn's is definitely more of a diner, but they do a decent job on the house-made donuts as well. Full table service does have its perks sometimes.

    And I used to live on 21st and Damen, so I know Wagner's as well. I usually went for the Mexican pastries, but an occasional eclair sure hit the spot!


    Huck Finn's donut's can be good, but they have a very short shelf life. In the AM, they're worth getting; in the PM they make for fun post-chinatown pictures.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #27 - December 13th, 2008, 9:47 pm
    Post #27 - December 13th, 2008, 9:47 pm Post #27 - December 13th, 2008, 9:47 pm
    One of the sadder days I can remember was when the northside Dat closed. It was so convenient for a Sunday am donut run...even given its customer service shortcomings.
  • Post #28 - December 14th, 2008, 1:21 pm
    Post #28 - December 14th, 2008, 1:21 pm Post #28 - December 14th, 2008, 1:21 pm
    Can anyone recommend a good place for donuts on the Northside, specifically Portage Park/Old Irving? I generally like Dinkel's, but it is not that close anymore. Dat and Abundance were my usual places when I lived in Bronzeville. I have not been able to find anything similar on the NWside.

    Thanks,
    Last edited by Marquee on December 14th, 2008, 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #29 - December 14th, 2008, 6:43 pm
    Post #29 - December 14th, 2008, 6:43 pm Post #29 - December 14th, 2008, 6:43 pm
    Normally, I do not do donuts BUT last week, I had to make a stop in Harvard due to fatigue and icy conditions. The chocolate cake donuts at Harvard donuts were truly outstanding.

    Harvard Doughnut
    (815) 943-1550 -
    311 S Division St, (US14)
    Harvard, IL
  • Post #30 - December 14th, 2008, 6:57 pm
    Post #30 - December 14th, 2008, 6:57 pm Post #30 - December 14th, 2008, 6:57 pm
    Rene G - Calumet Bakery is at 2510 EAST 106th Street, not west. Big difference there.

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