Stan’s Donuts & Coffee
Yeasted Glazed Donut
Le Stan with Laminated Dough, Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream, Granulated Sugar
Vanilla Glazed Cake Donut with Sprinkles
Cherry Old Fashioned
Blueberry Cream Cheese Pocket
Bomb Pop Buttermilk Bar
It seems difficult to believe that Stan’s Donuts & Coffee debuted in Chicago over four years ago but now with nine locations spanning from Millennium Park to Oak Brook there was no doubt a visit was in order shortly after arriving fresh off the red-eye from Las Vegas, July 4th finding streets already busy at 8am as folks planned for a long day in the heat and humidity awaiting Fireworks at the Navy Pier.
Thankfully offering easy access from the Blue Line, a short walk to 181 North Michigan Avenue taking perhaps ten minutes with luggage in hand, it was entering a half-full shop with decorative Donuts on the ceiling that a young server smiled and said hello, an extensive selection of fried Pastries beckoning from behind glass including several new additions.
Certainly not the cheapest of Donut Shops, “Standards” beginning at $1.95 and choices topping out with Stan’s $4.99 spin on Dominique Ansel’s Cronut, it was at a cost of nearly $25 including tax and tip that seven selections were boxed, a two-top table sporting branded Napkins offering room to relax with utensils and a fill-your-own Water station not far away.
Familiar with Stan’s from both 2014 and earlier in Westwood Village of Los Angeles, the original shop opened by Stan Berman in 1963 still going strong, it was with items unpacked that tasting began with a basic glazed ring featuring good rise and plenty of yeastiness, the simple selection made as a result of an “Assorted” Half-Dozen carrying two Traditional, two Specialty and two “Dough Boy’s Best” showing good fundamentals as did a Vanilla Glazed Cake Donut that was dainty despite a toothsome crumb and being virtually Oil free.
Unable to forgo the laminated option regardless of price, a cost greater than the originator’s actually, those who’ve tried a few Cronuts will probably be left scratching their head regarding what makes “Le Stan” special aside from perhaps good Pastry Cream, particularly as the overall texture is rather flaccid and the filling nowhere near as plentiful as that inside of one of Stan’s “Pockets,” this time sampled with housemade Blueberry Compote and Cream Cheese.
Moving next to more Fruit-filled selections, Stan’s Old Fashioned Donuts something of a signature even though pricing Pistachio at $2.75 with Cherry a dollar more makes little sense, it was with good natural flavor and a melting base that the cogwheel-shaped Pastry impressed, the Blueberry Fritter not quite as good as some since the exterior was not crispy enough while the Holiday “Bomb Pop” Buttermilk Bar should have been glazed a bit more quickly after frying to let Icing saturate the Dough, though the flavors were pretty darn close to those of the Popsicle it references.