Taste test: Firecakes Donuts

The gourmet doughnut craze continues with this River North shop

By Lisa Arnett, Kate Bernot and Jessica Cantarelli
@redeyeeatdrink | RedEye

No way around it, opening a gourmet doughnut shop less than five blocks from freakishly popular shop The Doughnut Vault in River North is a ballsy move.

But that's exactly what Jonathan Fox, a seasoned restaurateur who already has a foothold in the neighborhood with La Madia, did when he opened Firecakes (68 W. Hubbard St. 312-329-6500) earlier this month.

For what it's worth, any accusations of jumping on the designer doughnut wagon can be countered with the fact that Fox does have a legit family tie to this pastry: His wife's great grandfather was a baker at a logging camp in northern Wisconsin, and Fox has drawn upon his doughnut recipe at Firecakes.

Unlike The Doughnut Vault, which closes up shop in the morning as soon as stock runs out, Firecakes has been staying open until between 2 and 4 p.m. daily (opening time is 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. on weekends). The full lineup of doughnuts ($2-$3 each) is 11 strong and prices range from $2 for a diminutive pineapple-bacon nugget to $3 for the massive apple fritter. It¿s luck of the draw as to what will be available when you drop in. It took five visits, but we managed to get our doughnut-grubbing hands on one of each.

Reporters visit restaurants unannounced and meals are paid for by RedEye.

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