Award-Winning Downstate Donuts Looks to Open First Storefront

The virtual concept, operating since 2018, has launched a fundraising campaign after a fire at the company’s shared kitchen.
Award-Winning Downstate Donuts Looks to Open First Storefront (CHICAGO: 60640)
Photo: Official

It seems a potato donut trend is sweeping the nation or Chicagoland, at least. Of course Downstate Donuts has been at the forefront of the craze, having opened as a virtual kitchen in 2018. Virgil Roundtree together with Peter Guardalabene founded the company three years ago and spent the intervening time sharing the treats at farmers markets, pop-ups and other events, and via a homemade tricycle. Now, the company is ready to go brick-and-mortar.

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According to a Kickstarter campaign organized by Roundtree who recently bought-out Guardalabene, Downstate Donuts is looking to settle in Andersonville. “Our plan is to make our home in the beloved northside Chicago neighborhood where our very first donut was crafted – the Swedish settled, diverse community of Andersonville,” reads the campaign’s description. “We’ve made quite the presence with the support of local residents and small businesses, many of whom we call our friends and family.”

Downstate Donuts has been on a trajectory of success since its inception. In 2019, the company took home first place at Chicago’s Donut Fest and as of this summer, Foxtrot Markets, the Chicago-based chain of convenience stores, carries Downstate’s products.

“Our original vanilla sour cream donut will always be our darling, yet we continue to find inspiration from our global travels, particularly by experimenting with unique southeast Asian flavors from Vietnam (whipped Vietnamese coffee donut) , Japan (miso honey butter donut), India (Thai peanut butter donut), and beyond,” shares the campaign. “We continue to build off of our culinary curiosity, and commitment to making healthy focused donuts, for the fitness guru and the health conscious eater.  It’s no secret we use only the best ingredients, and our mantra is ‘organic is always our first option.’”

A fire in Downstate’s shared kitchen this summer is the impetus for the fundraising campaign, and the donut company has been rather quiet since the event. According to Block Club Chicago, funds from the Kickstarter, which was launched on December 6th, will go either toward a new commissary kitchen or directly toward finding a permanent Downstate Donuts home.

Follow Downstate Donuts on social media to learn more.

Photo: Official
Photo: Official
Photo: Official

Eve Payne

Eve Payne is a freelance writer with an MFA in poetry from Syracuse University. In 2019, she received the Leonard Brown Prize for her poetry, which has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Nashville Review, and RHINO.
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