Sometimes a Saturday calls for more walking than sitting and more stops than a single one for brunch, which can come in all shapes and sizes. Enter Bow Truss Coffee Roasters in Lakeview and Glazed & Infused in Lincoln Park of Chicago when a simple coffee and doughnut are on your mind.
Artisan coffee has certainly established a foothold in Chicago. With options from Dollop, to Intelligentsia, to Metropolis, there is every excuse to avoid the omnipresent Starbucks. Bow Truss is no exception.
Their space feels like a vintage store with boxes of dusty vinyl, record players (usable!), and classic toboggans lined up on the walls. One of the table and chair sets is an old Pac Man game with two stools. There is a large communal, glass-topped table where patrons can read by themselves or sit down for a coffee and conversation. There are those places that try to look vintage, and then there are places that can do it naturally. Bow Truss is one of latter.
Their approach, as read on their website, is based in the idea that they are small enough to know their customers names and yet able to be picky about their coffee beans. It definitely shows. They were incredibly warm and welcoming, even to an aspiring coffee aficionado who wasn't sure what to select. An 8 oz. cup of their Costa Rican Microlot brew was a perfect introduction to their roasts.
A short train ride later, you can stop at Glazed & Infused on W. Armitage Avenue, just below the train to top off your two-part breakfast.
Glazed & Infused's approach to the doughnut is to reinvent it and elevate it. With flavors like Creme Brulee and Red Velvet you can see that they go all out with this approach. By the time we got there, they had run out of their Vanilla Bean Glazed so this created the opportunity to try two of their more decadent flavors: the Maple Bacon Long John and the Raspberry Glazed.
Both were beautiful and looked mouth-watering. The Raspberry Glazed was good, but a little too sweet because of the frosting. The Maple Bacon Long John was interesting. The slice of candied bacon on top was a necessary counterpoint to the sweetness of the maple syrup frosting and was a nice touch of texture to an otherwise normal doughnut.
All in all, the doughnuts are a little heavy and don't strike that delicate balance of sweet flavor and light texture to make you crave another one right away. There are better doughnuts in Chicago (Firecakes' Vanilla Iced is heavenly). But again, anyone who really has a problem with a sugary pastry that's part of a nice leisurely Saturday is searching for a fault.