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Openings Wed Feb 22 2012

Do-Rite Donuts Opens Thursday Morning at 6:30am

Do-Rite-logo.jpgLettuce Entertain You is getting into the donut game -- right now. The restaurant group is the financial backer for Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee, which begins serving serving small batch gourmet donuts and coffee at 50 W. Randolph St. -- a small storefront carved out of Petterino's -- at 6:30am on Thursday.

Do-Rite is co-owned by chefs Francis Brennan and Jeff Mahin. Both chefs have a history with Lettuce Entertain You: Brennan created the bread program at L2O and took over as executive chef after Laurent Gras left the Michelin-starred restaurant before making way for Matthew Kirkley in November, and Mahin is chef-partner at Stella Rossa Pizza Bar, one of LEYE's restaurants in Santa Monica, CA.

Do-Rite will be open Monday through Friday starting at 6:30am, and will be frying donuts fresh every hour until 11am -- though Mahin said some varieties may run out early. "We're cooking donuts every hour, 24 to 36 at a time." The shop will stay open after 11am until the last batch runs out. You'll be able to keep an eye on supply and daily selection by following @DoRiteDonuts on Twitter.

Brennan and Mahin have developed more than a dozen donut varieties to sell in the shop, and between nine and 12 will be served each day, priced from $1.95 to $2.95 each. Flavors Mhin described include a peanut butter and jelly donut with raspberry jam filling and a peanut butter mousse topping, a toasted coconut bar infused with coconut milk, an almond Boston creme, a maple and candied bacon cruller, buttermilk bar, and a lemon curd-filled donut with poppyseed glaze. The classic "Old Fashioned" cake will be Do-Rite's signature donut, flipped three times to create a split-top "flowering" effect and glazed with either Tahitian vanilla or Valrhona chocolate. There will also be a gluten-free donut available, which Mahin and Brennan developed in honor of Mahin's brother, who has celiac disease.

As for the other product in the name, Do-Rite will serve a custom coffee blend developed in collaboration with Dark Matter. "Jesse [Diaz, Dark Matter's master roaster] figured out the perfect coffee to go with our donuts," Mahin said. "It's a bold coffee that goes well with cream and sugar."

There was much speculation as to where Brennan would resurface after departing L2O. Mahin said that he and Brennan have been talking abut the project for a couple years, and developed the project on a "really low budget" with Rich Melman's backing.

"This is probably the most casual project Francis and I have ever been involved with," Mahin said. "We're back there with backward ball caps, listening to music and making donuts. We're having a blast."

Meanwhile, former LEYE corporate chef Brendan Sodikoff's Doughnut Vault continues to see runaway success, and restaurateur Scott Harris' own donut concept, Glazed and Infused, is a week or two away from opening, according to a source familiar with the project. Glazed and Confused will be located on the backside of Francesca's Forno, directly across from the Damen Blue Line stop. Get ready for a donut war.

UPDATE: Here's how the selection looked at Do-Rite's opening Thursday morning:

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Roy / February 22, 2012 5:16 PM

How about we all collectively forget these lame "boutique", money-making donut operations, and get back to supporting our still-surviving family-owned bakeries with donuts that are 100 times tastier?

Erik / February 22, 2012 5:20 PM

What family run bakeries in Chicago are still doing donuts? You f'ing moron.

Truron / February 22, 2012 5:24 PM

Which ones are those, Roy? Outside of Dinkels, I can't think of any other family owned bakeries that serve donuts within the border of Touhy, 31st, and Pulaski. Driving to the burbs isn't an answer. I've been craving good donuts in this city for a long time, and while I hate the hype of these places, DV delivers on quality. I have no doubt Do-Rite will also, and hopefully with less "holier than thou" attituted like the Vault. Dunkin Donuts was voted best donuts by Chicago Reader's Readers - if that tells you anything about what this city knows about donuts.

mp / February 23, 2012 9:28 AM

Glazed and Infused is the name Harris' project

Dan / February 23, 2012 9:56 AM

Yeah Roy, which ones? I can't stand people that just hate because something new is coming out. Get over yourself. Be open minded. I just had a few of Do-Rite's Donuts and they were freakin' amazing. By far the best donuts i've had in Chicago, and possibly anywhere. High praise? I know, but try 'em, you'll understand.

Eric / February 23, 2012 10:52 AM

Not to hate on the quality of donuts at this new place as I have not tried them, but when is someone going to open a donut shop that can provide donuts to me at any time? I don't want to wait in line for 30 minutes only to find that there is only one type of donut left of the 4 varieties they made that day. I don't care if Laurent Gras' protege made the donuts if I can never get one. Some days I can't get out of the house by 11 a.m.

How can all these great chefs keep michelin-starred restaurants going, but can't make enough donuts to sell to every customer that walks through the door? It's not a f***ing night club, it's a donut.

bob / February 23, 2012 10:56 AM

do yourself a favor and trek down to 112th and michigan for old fashioned donuts. and pick up an apple fritter while you're there. sooo worth the trip.

Eric / February 23, 2012 11:09 AM

Bob: SHHHHH!!!

Andrew Huff / February 23, 2012 11:19 AM

Thanks for the correction, MP, the name has been fixed in the story.

Michael / February 23, 2012 12:47 PM

Lettuce just thinks they can do whatever they want too as well as thinking they are super whitty. Too bad they aren't and one of the chefs doesn't even live in the city... Shouldnt the co-chef be able to be there more often?

Detroit Murder Dog / February 23, 2012 3:11 PM

Chicago has legit donuts. Bridgeport Bakery and Impallaria are favorites. Old Fashioned and Dat are also in the books. DV is very mediocre except for the buttermilk (which is actually exceptional). Dunkn is totally fine and anyone who says otherwise is a snob.

Real talk, though, NO donut is worth waiting in line 30 minutes for. 5-10 minutes is my maximum. Anything else and you have to question your priorities (which probably include a deep commitment to hype).

Erik / February 23, 2012 6:52 PM

Do-Rite is amazing. I went this morning and the staff is really organized. They had their stuff together. Even with a packed shop with a line out the door I only waited 3 minutes tops. GL donut is amazing as well as the maple bacon. Can't wait to stop by tomorrow morning and see what new donuts they have!

Cakepop Queen / February 24, 2012 8:09 AM

I totally agree with Bob! Old Fashioned's apple fritter is outta this world....and their donuts are excellent too! I also have to say Dat Donuts are really good (love the strawberry frosted ones), and Huck Finn restaurant makes a mean donut too! Also, if you are ever out in the burbs, try Homecut Donuts in Joliet. They are open 24 hours and the donuts are always fresh. All of that being said, I will still be trying Do-Rite....can't knock it til you try it!!!

Mark / February 24, 2012 11:33 AM

I just wolfed down a Do-rite bacon cruller. Wow! Yes there are some family owned donut places but nothing here in the loop or on north side. As for Dunkin? Their stuff is stale and nast. Does anyone remember when Dunkin used to actually make the donuts in the store? Now they're trucked in, from Peoria or someplace similar.

Helene / February 25, 2012 12:36 PM

DRD is awesome! I've stopped by a few times now, at different times of day and the donuts were warm and tasted amazing! Where else can you get coffee and a donut for $ the loop? A donut that is fresh and tasty and made in house, by actual chefs were are clearly doing what they love! Thank you DRD!

Mama / February 26, 2012 4:29 PM

Francis is my hero. I knew he wouldn't make the line artificially long for appearance's sake. I can't wait to try the new doughnuts! Thanks Andrew for posting this story.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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