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Doughnut Vault Sparks A Pastry Frenzy In Chicago

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Are cupcakes so five minutes ago? Judging by the buzz surrounding doughnuts recently, there's a new sweet treat that's looking to take top billing.

The Doughnut Vault opened less than two weeks ago in the foodie-friendly River North area. Since day one, this pastry place has attracted a long line of sweet-toothed Chicagoans willing to wait hours for a single bite.

To be fair, Brendan Sodikoff (owner of Gilt Bar and Maude's Liquor Bar) never expected his newest venture to become so wildly popular. The tiny, unassuming space is almost hidden except for its light blue door right around the corner from Gilt Bar. While Sodikoff assumed there would be sufficient space for lines on that side of the building, it turns out he was mistaken. The line regularly snakes around the corner regardless of rainy weather or cold temps.

What makes these doughnuts worth the long wait? Bakers at The Doughnut Vault create homemade (not machine-made, as emphasized on their website) doughnuts using only high-quality ingredients every morning, so the results are always fresh and tasty. They stick to some classic flavors, like gingerbread, old-fashioned buttermilk and vanilla glazed, except for the occasional "featured" doughnut, like the crunchy pistachio glazed variety sold this past weekend. Depending on the flavor, doughnuts are priced at either $2 or $3 a piece, a steep price that hasn't appeared to deter customers in the least. Perhaps it's the drool-worthy photos posted on their Tumblr website that has kept the lines long each morning.

Getting a doughnut isn't so easy, unfortunately. The shop doesn't have set hours; it opens around 8 or 9 am each morning Tuesday through Saturday, and closes whenever doughnuts sell out. Customers have started lining up around 7 am each morning, so getting there before 8 am is almost a prerequisite. Fortunately, the shop also sells small cups of coffee for a dollar, so you can get an early morning jolt after the long wait.

If you're hoping to snatch up some of these tasty treats, check out The Doughnut Vault's Facebook and Twitter for daily updates about opening times and featured flavors. One more thing: purchases are capped at a half-dozen per person, so don't stop in planning to buy enough for the whole office.

401 ½ N. Franklin St.