Customers glad to see Chicago's Old Fashioned Donuts, Dat Donut open

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As restaurants continue to adapt to mandatory closings, many neighborhood bakeries have remained open, albeit now enforcing masks for customers and social distancing.

Our Hungry Hound checked in on a pair of legendary South Side doughnut shops this week and found them both busy with grateful customers looking for a morning sugar fix.

Burritt Bulloch, 81, said he has never missed a day of work. For the past 48 years, he's been a constant at the beloved Old Fashioned Donuts in the Roseland neighborhood, starting at 5:30 a.m., because he knows he's got fans coming.

"People love my donuts. I've been here so long they call me the Donut King," he said.

The King knows exactly how long to proof his dough, fry them in shortening and then eyeballs the color to know when to flip them over.

While hot, most of these yeast-raised doughnuts will get topped with chocolate icing or doused in a thick sugar glaze. There are some cake donuts, but it's mostly yeast-raised.

"I cut-up a couple hundred pounds a day," said Bulloch.

Many years ago, he started making what he calls "Texas" doughnuts, due to their size. One Texas equals about four regular doughnuts.

Bulloch said the first few weeks of the stay-at-home orders were tough, due mainly to some street work out front, but things changed about a month ago.

"After the stimulus money came through, it kind of picked up real fast. Started coming back to normal," he said.

He shows no signs of slowing down, knowing full well his duty to his neighbors revolves around keeping them stocked with glazed nirvana.

"Around here, when you're out of glazed, you're out of donuts as far as they're concerned," said Bulloch.

A few miles away, Dat Donut is back in business. The store has been a part of East Chatham for 25 years, but took some time to get things organized. They just re-opened on the 11th.

"It's not as busy in the a.m. More people come out after 11, 12 o'clock. We're cutting roughly three to four mixes a day. Depends on the traffic because we're playing it by ear now, to make sure everything stays fresh," said owner Darryl Townson.

Like Old Fashioned, it's the glazed that keeps them coming back.

"Always still the glazed donuts, Big Dats, apple fritters," he said.

With masks and social distancing now required, returning to normal doesn't seem like that much of a stretch, since there is no dining room, and there's still that giant window separating customers from staff.

And while he can no longer see their smiles, Townson said it's nice to hear them share their appreciation.

"The customers are elated that we're back open. All day long they're coming and telling us, 'Glad to see you back, miss you,' but we're back now," said Townson.

Even though the doughnut shop has limited hours, good news for fans who want something right before their sweets - next door at Uncle John's - ribs, tips and hot links available every day.

Dat Donut used to be open 24 hours, but they've reduced hours during the pandemic. Best to call ahead just to make sure.

Old Fashioned Donuts
11248 S. Michigan Ave.

Dat Donut
8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
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