I heard about the Doughnut Vault on one of those “best of” shows they do on one of the cable food channels. The theme of was either the best doughnuts in America, or just generally the best desserts in the country. I was watching this show on a trip to Chicago, so my ears perked up when they mentioned Chicago’s own Doughnut Vault. The program showed people lining up in the morning to get their hands on these doughnuts before the shop sold out for the day. Also featured was the Doughnut Vault’s mobile operation, the Vault Van.
A few months after seeing the Vault Van on screen, I saw it parked in front of the Lincoln Park farmer’s market. It was fate (right?!) so I had to see if these doughnuts were really as good as Hilary Duff’s sister said they were on the food show. When did Haylie Duff become an authority on food?
The Vault Van looks like a retro ice cream truck, which is perfect because it serves exclusively “old fashioned” doughnuts. The Vault Van serves the following doughnuts, as well as a rotating daily special, for $2 a piece:
- Coconut Cream
- Toasted Almond
- Triple Chocolate
- Lemon Poppyseed
I had a tough decision to make — all of the doughnuts looked delicious — but I went with the Pistachio Doughnut for my first Doughnut Vault experience. It was definitely Insta-worthy, but was it as tasty as it looked?!
🍩🚐Mobile #donuts? Yes please! Find this pistachio beauty and others at @doughnutvault in #Chicago. Review in bio. Use #BTRdonuts to follow our #NationalDonutDay coverage today! Tag @betterthanramen to be featured. #betterthanramen #btrdonuts #doughnuts #doughnut #doughnutvault #vaultvan #chifoodie #wcbc #food #foodporn #pistachio
Like all old fashioned doughnuts, this doughnut tasted like dense cake, rather than a fluffy chunk of fried dough. I prefer old fashioned doughnuts to the traditional yeasty variety. The doughnut was crunchy around the edges (with the help of the glaze) and softer in the middle. It was quite dense and indulgent, so I couldn’t finish it in one sitting, despite its unintimidating size. While the texture was what I was looking for, the pistachio flavor that I was most excited about was almost nonexistent. The glaze, whose green color indicated that it was supposed to be the source of the advertised pistachio flavor, tasted like regular glaze. They could’ve done without the green food coloring and just called it a glazed old fashioned doughnut. The cake part of this doughnut just tasted like a “plain” cake doughnut and also lacked pistachio flavor.
I recommend the Doughnut Vault rework their recipe for this doughnut and add pistachios to the batter and glaze. I will keep my eye out for the Vault Van the next time I am in Chicago, because surely not all of their doughnuts could be this lackluster if they’ve have such a big following.
The Bottom Line:
They said it was a pistachio doughnut, but where was the pistachio?! For the false advertising, the doughnut gets lower marks than if it had been labeled “glazed doughnut.”
Pistachio Doughnut: 2.5/5
Follow @doughnutvault for daily Vault Van location
River North store: 401 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60654
West Loop store: 111 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606