(Publisher's note: This is the first piece for Wednesday Journal by Melissa Elsmo, an Oak Park chef and food writer.)
Local doughnut lovers have been waiting patiently since summer for Firecakes Donuts' opening day. Nestled in an unassuming storefront in The Emerson high-rise on the corner of North Boulevard and Maple Avenue, the day-old shop is already churning out small-batch, artisan doughnuts with ease.
The Oak Park location joins a duo of Firecakes sister-shops located in Chicago. "This is our first trip to the suburbs," says Firecakes' manager/baker, Maria Duron, "and this looks like a nice neighborhood."
Let's face it, welcoming a doughnut shop to our community isn't a difficult task. Duron and her friendly crew are peddling some classic doughnuts as well as a few more creative menu options like (brace yourself) a maple bacon slider. Marrying savory and sweet, the fried chicken sandwich is served with Nueske's bacon and maple cream sauce on a honey glazed doughnut. Whoa.
The fried chicken menu is unique to the Oak Park Firecakes location for the time being, but purists will be satisfied with the myriad of potential coffee/donut combos available on a daily basis. Looking for a classic combo? Order a cup of their La Colombe coffee and savor a Tahitian Vanilla doughnut or a buttermilk old fashioned. If your doughnut craving is a little more complex, Firecakes' fresh-from-the-fryer seasonal fritter currently features locally sourced Granny Smith apples and notes of cinnamon. Their riff on a chocolate long john incorporates both Nutella and Frangelico.
Duron recommends giving the PB&J variety a try, but hopes, no matter which menu item you order, you can taste Firecakes' passion for creating hand-made doughnuts in every bite.
104 N. Maple
Sun-Thursday 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
*This article was updated to correct the address.
Answer Book 2018
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