Customers are waiting in long lines at a doughnut shop in the western suburbs that features international flavors. Hello Donut opened in late July in Elmhurst, about 45 minutes west of Chicago, and features 45 flavors of cake and yeast varieties, from Bismark to old-fashioneds. Notable chefs have already partnered with the shop on signature doughnuts including influential Mexican chef Dudley Nieto, who has created a sweet mole doughnut for the operation.
Nieto’s doughnut features dark chocolate, cloves, and star anise, using a Oaxacan base. A spokesperson says the chef kept it simple as he didn’t want to intimidate customers in DuPage County. Elmhurst, with a population of 45,326, is 86.8 percent white. The state’s average is 76.3 percent. While there are sizable minority populations in Elmhurst, their sizes also fall under the state averages. That makes Elmhurst an unlikely place to launch, but customers have been gobbling up the international influences which include a doughnut from Naansense chef Hiran Patel. The Indian American chef has based his offering around rasmali, the South Asian sweet made with milk and cardamom. Management, when possible, is also using halal ingredients. Often, doughnut makers use ingredients like lard, which doesn’t meet the halal standard. It’s sometimes torturous as even the prettiest doughnut cannot be enjoyed by practicing Muslims. Hello Donut wants to be welcoming to all. There are also vegan and gluten-free options.
The chef’s specials will rotate. Other flavors include a sweet-and-spicy mango and Tajin old fashioned from Yani Sanchez (Takito Street). They’re also considering a Filipino doughnut with ube and caramelized caviar and a Greek doughnut with whipped truffled feta and hot honey. Other chefs are also waiting in the wings on future collaborations. Speciality doughnuts have sold out by 2 p.m.
There are a few investors in the project, including Jose Escobedo, owner of La Casita Michocana in suburban Addison. Escobedo also owns Azteca Bakery in Glendale Heights. There’s also plans to start a line of Hello Donut paletas. But ownership’s biggest objective is expansion — they want Hello Donut locations across the country, and have a chef who has worked at a well-known Chicago doughnut shop ready to oversee those plans. The first step is opening a Chicago location, and ownership is eyeing Bucktown or West Loop for later this year. Check out the photos below.
Hello Donut, 116 N. York Street, open daily 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.