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Play makes mouths water for donuts

August 6, 2008 2:30:43 PM PDT
A new play by Tracy Letts called "Superior Donuts" led ABC7's Hungry Hound to seek out some great donut shops. Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer and a Tony for his play, "August: Osage County," which is currently on Broadway. His latest effort is a love letter of sorts to Chicago that features a worn-out, fictitious donut shop in Uptown.

"Arthur P, you do know how to make donuts right? You don't just have them shipped in from Acme Donut Factory."

- "No I make the donuts by hand."

"You gotta get up early."

"I make the dough in the evening. After I close."

"Stick it in the fridge. Then fry it up in the morning."

"More flavor that way."

"Just flour and oil right? Then hit it with the sugar?"

"It's a little more sophisticated than that."

In "Superior Donuts," the new play at the Steppenwolf, the namesake shop is a fictitious Uptown legend, full of odd characters from different ethnicities. There are issues of race, politics and local history.. but also food. And after spending two hours in the theater, The Hungry Hound was inspired to seek out a locally-owned, legendary donut shop.

At Old Fashioned Donuts - a 35-year mainstay in the Roseland neighborhood - owner Buritt Bulloch shows no signs of slowing down. He makes yeast, cake and buttermilk donuts everyday.

"It's something different, you know. I wanted to be a cook...and a baker...and I had the chance, I just stayed with it," said Buritt L. Bulloch, Old Fashioned Donuts.

While chocolate glazed and coconut buttermilk are popular.. so are the jelly-filled strawberry. But they're nothing, compared to his apple fritters and Texas donuts.

"I think I would introduce you to the Texas because it's different. You know, you don't find them in the market other than at Old Fashioned Donut."

"Well consider the donut. It's a dessert cake."

- "A dessert cake?"

"Yes."

- "Or a meal substitute."

"Yeah I suppose either one."

- "Or an additional meal, which contributes to obesity and cardiac disease in the African American community."

"You're not giving much credit to the discernment of the consumer. African American or otherwise."

- "Discernment implies a choice. You don't see no Whole Foods in this neighborhood, do you?"

"Oh, it's coming. You got a Starbucks right across the street."

Gentrification hasn't affected Bulloch yet; he says his longevity is due to two things: his recipes and his customers.

"They are the ones that keep me going. They look forward to that every day. I think I've gone through about three generations of customers and that's also a plus."

"My donuts are good. I don't brag on 'em, but they're old fashioned donuts."

Superior Donuts
Steppenwolf Theater

1650 N. Halsted

runs through Aug. 24

for tickets: 312-335-1650

Old Fashioned Donuts
11248 S. Michigan Ave.

773-995-7420

Dat Donuts
8251 S. Cottage Grove

773-723-1002

Donut Doctor
3342 W. Lawrence

773-509-1600

Spunky Dunkers
20 S. Hicks Rd., Palatine

847-358-7935

Wheeling Donuts
729 W. Dundee Rd., Wheeling

847-419-9619

Prospect Donuts & Subs
Ascot Center, 1-D S. Wolf Rd., Prospect Heights

847-789-3322


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