The owners of the precariously named DonutSlut announced their intentions to bring boozy doughnuts to West Town in 2018 inside a former Currency Exchange on the corner of Grand and Ashland.
These were simpler times. LA’s Eggslut debuted in 2011 and the sandwich chain, which still hasn’t reached Chicago, was hot. Meanwhile during a Vegas visit, three Chicago hospitality industry members with club and event promotion backgrounds — Blake Seitz, George Rizzio, and Paul Alqas — came up with the idea for a doughnut shop combining baking and mixology. They wanted novel doughnuts with vibrant flavors, not the garden variety folks would find in chains. What happened in Vegas apparently didn’t stay in Vegas because the trio devised an acronym: S.L.U.T.: Superior Luxurious Unrefined Treat. Beyond Eggslut, DonutSlut joins a club of dubious names including Slutty Vegan in Atlanta and New York. As Slutty Vegan’s owner told Eater NY when it opened last year, the name was a great way to inflate hype.
But Chicago’s fairy tale wasn’t ready to come true immediately. DonutSlut’s original baker moved to Detroit. The landlord wasn’t ready for the shop to open. And then the little matter of the pandemic snarled plans. Things turned around in 2022, and crews had the shop ready in January, but ownership felt winter wasn’t the ideal time to debut, according to Alqas.
The shop features novel selections like a savory loaded baked potato doughnut with bacon from pastry chef Amy Arnold. Arnold’s background includes working with DineAmic Restaurant Group (BomboBar, Bandit) and she’s currently head of pastry at 4 Corners (Ranalli’s, Federales, Sugar Junkie).
Beyond the loaded potato doughnut (yeast, cheese dipped, bacon bits, chives, filled with herb mashed potatoes), there’s a selection inspired by the Girl Scout cookies formerly known as Samoa. DonutSlut wouldn’t be the first bakery to produce such a treat, as Aya Pastry has been stocking coffee shops all over the city with their version. There’s also a PB&J (yeast doughnut, grape jelly, peanut butter icing, blackberry crispies), Cinnamon Toast Crunch (old fashioned, dipped in crushed CTC), s’mores (cake doughnut, fudge icing, crushed Golden Grahams, toasted marshmallow), and a vegan (vegan yeast doughnut, glazed with rainbow sprinkles).
The space includes a full espresso bar with beans from Happy Monday Coffee Roasters. Specialty drinks include an iced ube with oat milk, hazelnut, and honey. Doughnut shakes and sundaes are coming.
But what about the booze? The shop awaits the city for its liquor license. Back in 2018, ownership mentioned boozy glazes. Their idea has evolved to having baking syringes so customers can inject booze into their treat. Combinations include spice rum into an apple and cinnamon doughnut or Chambord (a raspberry liqueur) into a peanut butter and jelly doughnut. They hope to begin offering spiked doughnuts this summer.
This isn’t Rizzio and Alqa’s first restaurant venture as the pair own Medi Kitchen & Cocktail in Lincoln Park. There’s also a fourth partner, Tim Emeni. Walk through the space below.
DonutSlut, 1605 W. Grand Avenue, open 7 a.m. Tuesday through Friday; open 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday; Monday hours debuting late this summer.