Cupcakes, move aside. With less frosting (at least a little less) and just the perfect size for the early morning sugar buzz, doughnuts are poised to take over as Chicagoans' new favorite treat. We're filling the hole of where to go when the temperature drops and your morning cup o' joe calls for a side of sweet-both bite-sized for kids and hearty enough for adults.
3329 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
In business since 1922, Dinkel's epitomizes an old-time bakery well suited for modern times. Founded by Joseph K. Dinkel, a master baker from Bavaria, Germany, Dinkel's makes doughnuts from the standard glazed to the Bismarck almost as drool-worthy as its famous cakes. There are plenty of tables and room to park your stroller. But don't forget to take a number. Lines can go out the door on a busy day and it won't just be your kiddo who gets impatient waiting for that old-fashioned treat.
Locations in Downers Grove, Naperville and Willowbrook
Juicy O's "Wake Up Machine" churns out doughnuts faster than you can say "more please." What started as a "quest to create the perfect cake doughnut" turned into a full-service meal operation where doughnuts are only a preview to other family-friendly fare and are free when you sit down. Your kids will appreciate the fast-track to sweetness.
Old Fashioned Donuts
11248 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Located in the Roseland/Washington Heights neighborhood, Old Fashioned Donuts has been called "the original Krispy Kreme," with windows in the front of the store to best view the doughnut-making process. While the apple fritter is the crowd pleaser, seasonal doughnuts are a specialty, (cider, anyone?) and so is the super-sized Texas. It takes "family-style" eating to a new level.
401½ N. Franklin St., Chicago
Lines around the block? Doughnuts off the shelf by 9 a.m.? Welcome to the hottest doughnut shop this side of the Mississippi-or at least the Kennedy. The Doughnut Vault is not for the relaxing family outing, but your taste buds will thank you. Wake up early and head to River North for flavors like chestnut glazed and old-fashioned buttermilk. That is, if you're lucky enough to score one.
Sara Fisher is a mother of two living in Roscoe Village. She also blogs at selfmademom.net.
See more of Sara's stories here.