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First Look: Doughnut Vault

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Apr 6, 2011 3:00PM

Homer Simpson may have said it best when he called the doughnut sacrilicious. The rightness, the wrongness. The guilt, the pleasure. It’s a plump, round dichotomy with sprinkles. If you couldn’t tell, we’ve been charmed ever since our visit to Brendan Sodikoff’s newly opened Doughnut Vault, the hole-in the-wall doughnut and coffee shop just around the corner from Sodikoff’s Gilt Bar. And we’re not exaggerating about the size; Doughnut Vault isn’t much more than a brief hallway with a business end. A residual bank vault lends the place its name and, presumably, the rackful of fresh doughnuts stored within a false sense of security. Touches like the chandelier over the counter, the mirrored and tiled walls, checkered floor, pale blue doors and trim, and antique gold cash register all suggest an affinity with Sodikoff’s other local haunt, the likewise Francophile Maude’s Liquor bar. A window may soon serve walk-throughs, but for now the cashier is keeping it closed on account of the brisk weather. (Ed. Note: How can you not love a place with a "1/2" in its address? It's like the Hogwarts Doughnut Shop!)

The premiere doughnut flavors are as follows: Buttermilk Old Fashioned ($2); Gingerbread Stacked ($3); and three types of Glazed: Chestnut, Vanilla and Chocolate ($3). Expect this menu to stay awhile (for one thing, it’s elegantly painted on a mirror). Drip coffee from Metropolis costs $1 a cup.

We planned to get one of each. Then we saw the Chocolate Glazed. Its sheer girth had us backpedaling, and we settled on one chocolate and a Buttermilk Old Fashioned. It bears repeating that the former is freakin’ huge: fat, fluffy and twice-glazed (chocolate slathered over a layer of sugar glaze), with chocolate sprinkles mixed in for a bit of crunch. The latter, a smaller and faintly less decadent doughnut, was fresh and pillowy on the inside with a nice fried “crust” on the outside. Both were really tasty.

At least for now, each customer can purchase up to six doughnuts and must pay in cash. Doughnut Vault won’t be keeping regular business hours, either; when fresh batches are ready, announcements will go out over Twitter and Facebook that the shop is open. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go hit the treadmill.

Doughnut Vault is located at 401 1/2 N. Franklin.