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In River North, Doughnut Shops Stay Open Late for Night Owls

By Janet Rausa Fuller | July 26, 2013 6:16am
 Firecakes and Glazed and Infused stay open late for the bar-hopping crowd.
River North doughnut shops open late
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RIVER NORTH — Late nights in River North just got sweeter.

On a hopping stretch of Hubbard Street, the doughnut shops Firecakes and Glazed and Infused have the nocturnal, treat-seeking crowd cornered.

Last week, the fifth location of Glazed and Infused opened its doors (and walk-up window) at 30 E. Hubbard St. with hours to encourage the late-night munchies. The shop closes at 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

"Doughnuts are not just for breakfast anymore," said James Gray, managing partner of Glazed and Infused.

A week earlier, Firecakes at 68 W. Hubbard, extended its closing time to midnight Fridays and Saturdays — or until the doughnuts run out.

 River North doughnut shop Glazed and Infused will soon begin serving late-night customers.
River North doughnut shop Glazed and Infused will soon begin serving late-night customers.
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Glazed and Infused/Facebook

Firecakes owner Jonathan Fox said the move to later hours was not related to his new neighbor down the street, but rather something he's intended to do since opening the shop early this year.

He knew there would be demand. A few weeks ago, when showing out-of-town friends his shop one evening after closing, "there were people pulling on the door," he said.

"We just wanted to do it in a way where we could handle the volume," Fox said. "Our doughnuts take a little more handiwork than others. It's a really delicate dough."

The upside to visiting either spot after dark? Access to off-the-menu treats the daytime crowd doesn't usually see — Frankenberry cereal-coated doughnuts at Glazed, for example.

"It's an opportunity for us to be silly with flavor combinations," said Gray. "During the day, people want consistency, whereas our nighttime customers don't really care."

It's a familiar pattern to Gray. The Wicker Park location of Glazed and Infused has kept similar hours since opening a little more than a year ago and tends to draw a certain type of customer at night — a not very sober one, he said.

"Oh, yeah. Ohhh, yeah. That's typically the case," he said.

Gray said the new buttermilk bar, a bar-shaped buttermilk cake doughnut with a glazed, crackly top filled with Rare Bird Preserves' mixed berry jam, is a solid choice for soaking up booze.

Those coming to Firecakes aren't the bar hoppers, Fox said. They just want an after-dinner treat.

"The busiest time is from 7 to 10 p.m. A lot of people after dinner want to walk around and get a little something sweet with coffee," he said.

The smaller, two-bite doughnuts at Firecakes, in flavors such as pineapple, maple-glazed bacon and espresso cream, have been popular in the evenings, as has the shop's newest item, an "ice cream doughnut."

The $4 dessert, which debuted last Saturday, consists of homemade ice cream stuffed in a honey-glazed square doughnut. It is reason enough to be fashionably early on a night out.

"We started serving it at 7. By 7:45, we were sold out," Fox said.