Deep Fried Chicago: Fritz Pastry
Fritz Pastry in Lakeview is the sort of spot that begs to you linger. Sunlight streams in through the picture windowed facade overlooking a quiet stretch of Diversey. There's a vintage turntable and a crate of records just itching to be played. And of course, there's the pastry menu—a deliberate selection of ever-changing items you can count on just two hands. But on this particular day, my interest was limited to doughnuts. We gave a shout-out last year to Fritz Pastry in a roundup, but I wanted to take a closer look at a wider array of their offerings.
The doughnut sales model proves problematic for the completist, though. Long before Doughnut Vault created a business strategy around running out early, purveyors have been operating in a similar fashion: they make what they make for the day, and when they're gone, they're gone. In this case, gallery photos on the bakery's website enticed me with a myriad of options: various glazes, sprinkles from across the rainbow, and even ones topped with breakfast cereal. But when I stopped in on a quiet Wednesday morning, the offerings were limited to three, none of which included cereal. No matter: after giving each my undivided attention, I get the general idea.
The Donut ($2.50) proper is a square yeast doughnut, hole included. This same style is used across the board, with variations to be found in the choice of toppings or glaze. The completely vegan doughnuts are doughy and substantial, with a dense interior that would hold up well to coffee. You could easily make a full meal out of one of these, blood sugar be damned.
The seemingly ubiquitous Vanilla Sprinkle features a light, crackly glaze that adheres well. The sprinkles are scattered judiciously, and sweetness remains at bay.
The Cinnamon Sugar is equally balanced; a light-handed application of each renders your fingers lickable without the telltale dusting on your shirt. With its exceptionally crunchy exterior, this was my favorite.
The Chocolate Strawberry is the richest of the three. There's not much in the way of strawberry flavor here, which is likely obscured by the heavy chocolate glaze.
A quick word about the Donut Holes. Serving them atop the doughnuts is a cute touch, but their small size combined with the dense dough makes for a rather chewy, tough bite. A slightly bigger hole would probably prove more successful.
I'll definitely be back to try a larger sample of doughnuts. And since I'm really intrigued by the cereal topped ones, I'll take the menu's advice and call in first.