On Tuesday April 5th, gourmet doughnut shop, the Doughnut Vault, opened in River North on 401 1/2 N. Franklin St. That day, they sold over 300 doughnuts and have been going strong ever since. I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
It's important to note that The Doughnut Vault opens at 8:30 a.m. Tuesdaythrough Friday and closes when they run out of doughnuts. On Saturday, the shop opens at 9:30 a.m., but according to the shop's Tumblr, on any given Saturday, it's advised that you arrive an hour ahead to ensure you get your doughnuts before they sell out.
I arrived about 8:45 a.m. on a Wednesday to a line of 20 people waiting outside. After about a half an hour, I walked out with doughnuts in hand.
The doughnuts were tasty but very pricey. The shop is cash only, and there's a limit to the number of doughnuts you can buy: a half dozen per customer. Each flavor runs from $2-$3 (which includes tax) so do the math. If you buy a half dozen, it will set you back $17-$18. The day I was there, they had five flavors. Most of them were glazed,and included chocolate and vanilla, buttermilk old-fashioned and a gingerbread stacked doughnut. There was also a chesnut flavor.
I opted to try the buttermilk old-fashioned as well as the vanilla glazed and chocolate glazed doughnuts and paired them with a cup of their coffee. The coffee was delicious and only $1. The buttermilk old-fashioned didn't disappoint. The inside was warm, doughy and flavorful while the glazing was sweet but not sticky or flaky. The chocolate and vanilla doughnuts were about on par with oven-fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which I used to get from the now closed location near Harlem and Archer. That isn't a bad thing. I just had higher hopes because of all the hype.
But unlike Krispy Kreme, The Doughnut Vault shop is far more chic. There's even a chandlelier hanging from the ceiling of the hallway-sized shop. But be aware, there's no seating.
Bottom line: The Doughnut Vault is worth a visit. However, the price, combined with the wait time and the irregularity of hours makes visiting the Doughnut Vault on a regular basis unlikely for me. And probably for you, unless you have a lot of time on your hands.
By guest blogger, Erin Nederbo