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Openings Wed Feb 22 2012
Lettuce 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: