Doughnut Vault heard the call when they opened their River North business, a converted elevator shaft with fancy décor. But while their donuts are meaty, their hour-long lines are frustrating, their options somewhat simple and their supply extremely limited. Happily, Chicago’s Year of the Donut was only getting warmed up.
Dirty Betty’s offers lower-fat, baked donuts with inspired flavor combinations. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Pomegranate Glaze (top left) wins with me. Another flavor, Ginger with Key Lime Glaze (bottom left), is more citrusy than most pastries hope to be. And the chocolate glaze on their Chocolate Toffee (top right) doughnut is the easily best chocolate topping I’ve ever had on a doughnut. Unlike Doughnut Vault, where the only difference between their yeast doughnuts is the glaze, the doughnuts at Dirty Betty’s are unique from one another in every way and they’re all delicious.
Since Dirty Betty’s lives inside Cookie Bar, I wasn’t at all surprised by the range of options. The daytime business, a 70’s disco cookie joint, makes Jalapeño Chocolate Chip, Red White & Blueberry and, my favorite, the Potato Chip Chocolate Chip cookie. Can’t decide between cookies and doughnuts? Then you should go on Saturday when they make both cookies and doughnuts all day.
How good is Dirty Betty’s? I’ve been making a mental list of best donuts I’ve had, absolutely certain that Dirty Betty’s makes the list.
Note from 2012: I have since tried Dat Donut and in my opinion it wasn't any more special than your average mom-n-pop doughnut shop. Two more Southside locations to go.