Wellness is a trend that’s here to stay, and catering teams everywhere report they’re increasingly getting more and more requests for healthier menu items. But even cold-pressed juices and egg-white omelets don't have quite the same appeal as a beautiful sprinkled doughnut. Who’s with me?
When I moved back to Chicago in 2016 after having been gone a few years, I couldn’t believe how doughnut shops had exploded around the city. Chicagoans are spoiled by never being more than a few blocks from a fresh-fried old-fashioned doughnut, whereas many other cities don’t have the same luxury.
Last year saw the shuttering of the popular Glazed and Infused, which many Chicagoans feared marked the beginning of the end of an era for the treats. But when it comes to meetings and events, doughnuts are showing no sign of slowing down as a crowdpleaser.
On Feb. 27, Stan’s is offering a free glazed doughnut with purchase at any of its Chicago locations in honor of the company’s fourth anniversary. This spot offers the widest variety in town when it comes to flavors, from Captain Crunch Bismarks and peanut butter banana pockets to vegan cinnamon sugar and gluten-free blueberry. Customize a doughnut tower or trays, or opt for a giant doughnut cake. For just a touch of sweetness to a healthier breakfast buffet, Stan’s also does mini doughnuts in flavors like chocolate glaze and lemon pistachio.
When Doughnut Vault opened in 2011, I remember lines stretching not only out the door, but around the block. (Yes, I was one of those pathetic souls who actually stood in line for over an hour—but only once!) But the doughnuts were that good. You can’t go wrong with a catering order of plain old-fashioned buttermilk, but triple chocolate, pistachio, toasted almond and coconut cream are also available. If your group desires a specific flavor, you can put in a special request to the chef. Free delivery is available within an eight-mile radius of either storefront with a three-dozen minimum.
If your group has a lot of dietary restrictions, West Town Bakery can create treats that are vegan or free of dairy, nuts, soy and gluten. Doughnuts are just the beginning of what they offer for catering, though. The red velvet cake and Dark Matter (infused with Dark Matter coffee) are worth adding to any variety plate. West Town also uses hybrid dough creations, ala Dominique Ansel, to create “doughssants” (in flavors like s’mores) and “cruffies” (muffin made from baked croissant dough) for catering trays.