One of the most famous doughnut shop chains in America is coming back to downtown Chicago after more than 10 years away. Krispy Kreme, the ever-popular North Carolina-based chain known around the country for its signature glazed doughnuts as well as other flavors of sweet fried dough rings and coffee drinks, is slated to open in the Block 37 Shops in the Loop this fall, a news release confirms. It will be the first Krispy Kreme downtown since its previous Loop store closed in 2005, the Tribune reports. A South Side Archer Heights location closed in 2010.
This shop will be different than other Krispy Kremes, however. The location, which management terms the “Chicago Fresh Shop,” is on the pedway level that’s accessible to the CTA Red and Blue Lines. Its 1,000-square-foot space is too small for a kitchen, so doughnuts won’t be made fresh on site. Instead management will send in doughnuts twice a day from its suburban locations. In addition to its selection of doughnuts, the shop will also offer coffee, frozen drinks, online ordering, and delivery.
Aside from grocery store sales, Krispy Kreme had been absent from the Chicago market for more than a decade until the company announced back in 2015 that it would return to the area by opening eight new locations. So far, three of those have opened in the suburbs, the most recent in Hillside last October. This new Loop location would be the fourth and the company still plans to open four more — including two or three in the city — its local franchisee told the Tribune.
The company — which is also in the midst of a large global expansion and in late July introduced its first redesign in more than a decade in North Carolina with a modern look and expanded menu with over-the-top milkshakes and doughnut ice cream sandwiches — is coming back to a much different doughnut scene in Chicago. Since Krispy Kreme last had a downtown location more than a decade ago, Chicago has become flooded with acclaimed local purveyors including Doughnut Vault, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee, Firecakes, and more. One local chain has shuttered — Glazed and Infused — but the others remain very popular, so Krispy Kreme will have more competition on its hands this time around.
Krispy Kreme plans to begin construction on the Block 37 “Chicago Fresh Shop” in August and hopes to open it in early October. Stay tuned for more news about its opening and the chain’s Chicagoland plans.