• Treat yourself to one of Chicago’s tastiest artisanal treats
• Sample ingenious twists like peanut-butter-cup and maple-bacon
Those of you trying to avoid sugar and carbs should probably skip to the next entry. Why? Because Chicago is in the throes of a serious—like, hard-core—artisanal-doughnut trend. At last count there were at least a half dozen craft doughnuts shops operating around the city, from Stan’s Donuts in Wicker Park to Streeterville’s Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken (which also serves a knockout fried-chicken sandwich). But the finest of the new batch is just steps from the Conrad Chicago in River North: Firecakes, opened in 2012, feels more like a small-town bakery, with its candy-striped wallpaper, chalkboard menus, and collection of vintage eggbeaters on the wall. By opening time at 7 there’s already a line out the door. Our picks? A traditional old-fashioned buttermilk, or the signature treat: a maple-glazed donut studded with brûléed pineapple and (why not?) smoky Nueske’s bacon. Best of all, they’re open late into the night, so you can return after dinner to try another on your way back home.
Firecakes is on West Hubbard Street between Dearborn and Clark, just a 10- to 12-minute walk south of the Conrad Chicago, and is open from 7 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. daily, till midnight Thursday through Saturday (or until they sell out). There’s another location in Old Town at 2453 N. Clark Street.
FIRECAKES DONUTS: 68 W. Hubbard St.; 312-329-6500; firecakesdonuts.com