Beverly Bakery & CaféThe couple running this sparse but cheerful daytime-only spot take it all in stride: They may have opened only in 2004, but their Beverly roots go back plenty. That would explain the careful local sourcing, from sage-rich breakfast sausage to thick applewood-smoked bacon and 21 varieties of house-roasted coffee. Fill up on a solid breakfast and take a doughnut for the road. 10528 S Western Ave (773-238-5580). Bus: 49A, 103, Pace 349. Tue–Fri 6am–2pm; Sat, Sun 8am–2pm (closed Mon). Average baked good: $2.
RECOMMENDED: The best donuts in Chicago
Dat DonutThis outpost of the local doughnut chain has few things going for it in the design department: It’s not much more than a big kitchen and a tiny waiting area. But oh, how worth a wait these doughnuts are. Our favorite: the buttermilk specimens. These lightly glazed, slightly tangy cake doughnuts achieve what very few of their kind can—an airiness resembling that of their yeast-risen brethren. 8251 S Cottage Grove Ave (773-723-1002). Bus: 4, 79. 24hrs (closed 10pm Sat–4am Mon). Average doughnut: $1.
Dinkel’sBaking in the Lakeview neighborhood since 1922, this popular German bakery reliably turns out sour-cream doughnuts, cinnamon-raisin stollen, German chocolate cookies and its signature “sip’n whisky cake,” a moist Bundt cake made with sour mash whiskey. Don’t miss the strudel, which comes in several varieties, such as praline-pecan. 3329 N Lincoln Ave (773-281-7300). El: Brown to Paulina. Bus: 9, 11, 77. Tue–Fri 6am–7pm; Sat 6am–5pm; Sun 8am–4pm (closed Mon). Average baked good: $4.
Huck Finn RestaurantThis minichain (there are three on the South Side) focuses on two major food groups: ice cream and doughnuts. The savory food is perfectly solid—tuna melts could feed three; burgers are charred on the outside and juicy within—but the real deal is what comes next. For most people, that’s the “Donut Delight,” any of the restaurant’s doughnuts topped with ice cream. But for our money, a doughnut sans topping does the job even better. 3414 S Archer Ave (773-247-5515). El: Orange to 35th/Archer. Bus: 35, 50, 62. 24hrs. Average doughnut: $1.
Old Fashioned DonutsWe could take a cue from the cops who stalk this bare-bones shop and go for the poofy glazed beauties or chocolate-slathered cake doughnuts in the case. But really, anytime we make it to this South Side institution, we’re too busy homing in on the apple fritters—unparalleled rounds, as big as your head, with cinnamon-spiked peaks and valleys dotted with gooey apple hunks. 11248 S Michigan Ave (773-995-7420). Bus: 34, 103, 106, 119. 6am–6pm (closed Sun). Average baked good: $2.
Swedish BakeryTake a number: This always-bustling bakery, an Andersonville stalwart for more than 75 years, churns out myriad goods, such as cinnamon-raisin bread; old-fashioned doughnuts; limpa loaves; a number of petit fours such as carrot, rum roll and Swedish cannoli; and marzariner—a traditional Swedish almond tart. It’s well worth the wait. 5348 N Clark St (773-561-8919). El: Red to Berwyn. Bus: 22, 36, 50. Mon–Fri 6:30am–6:30pm; Sat 6:30am–5pm (closed Sun). Average baked good: $2.