Old Town is a doughnut desert without quality options in the neighborhood, says Dana Lanier, and that's why she's opened Doodle's Doughnuts on Wells Street. Doodle's debuted today, a two-floor spot with 48 seats and 10 varieties of doughnuts. Oh, there's also gourmet bacon temping customers right at the counter.
This is Lanier's first restaurant, as she began baking doughnuts for her family about six years ago. A California native, Lanier notes that the Golden State has a distinct doughnut culture, and other places that Lanier's lived, like Philadelphia, aren't so passionate. Lanier wants to spread the love.
"It's kind of the a perfect time for doughnuts," she said. "I think Stanley's, Firecakes, Do-Rite —they've proven Chicago really loves doughnuts, they've all at least opened a second location."
Lanier —whose father was a fan of alteration and nicknamed her "Doodle"— calls her creations less sweet than the average pastry. The dough and most everything is homemade; visitors won't see tubs of off-site icing in the kitchen. The signature item is the Doodle Doughnut, a Bismark filled with chocolate or vanilla cream and topped with white icing. Guests will get a mini piping bag with their doughnut so they can customize their treat with an icing...doodle. Lanier expects social media to have fun with this, and children were already at the shop enjoying this pastry substitute for a coloring book. They pour Metropolis coffees. There's also the matter of the thick-cut Slagel Farms bacon resting on heating plates at the counter. Doodle offers three kinds: Smoked, candied and honey-Sriracha glazed. This makes the shop unique.
"I know a lot of people that don't like sweets, but I love them," Lanier said. "So there's really a conflict, especially when you come to a carry-out, quick-serve place like a bakery and there's nothing for them."
While she hasn't started making them, vegan doughnuts, a popular item for those who avoid cheese and meat, are in the works, Lanier said. Some doughnut shops rely on the scarcity model: The early bird gets the word. Over at Doodle, they plan on staying open late, serving some of the weekend bar crowd. Lanier wants to make sure customers get a good choice of doughnuts no matter the time. Check out the menu in the photo below.
Doodle's Doughnuts, 1419 N. Wells St., (312) 613-3339, open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.