Secret Chicken Sandwich

Michael Nagrant / 08.12.14

This being the year of the foodie ploy—cronuts, wonuts and so on—I grimaced when I heard about the secret spicy chicken sandwich served on a glazed doughnut at recently opened Do-Rite Donut & Chicken (233 E. Erie St. 312-344-1374) in Streeterville. Just a marketing gimmick, right?

When I ordered the secret sandwich, the Do-Rite employees did a nice job pretending that what I was ordering didn’t exist and spent some time trying to figure out how to ring it up ($6.96 was the final tally). I asked chef/partner Jeff Mahin why it’s not just on the regular menu. “I grew up next to an In-N-Out and there’s something fun about having secret items everyone knows about, but that aren’t on the menu,”Mahin said. Fair enough; the clandestine ordering process did add a little intrigue.

Because this chicken-doughnut concoction was invented by Mahin, the nimble culinary mind behind Stella Barra’s pizza and the assortment of stellar doughnuts served at Do-Rite (the original location is at 50 W. Randolph St. in the Loop), I should have known better than to discount it. The organic, free range and antibiotic-free chicken is brined for 12-18 hours in a brine of buttermilk, pickle spice and chili. Then it’s breaded in a mix of seasoned low- and high-protein wheat flours (the latter makes the breading super-crispy) and fried to order. It is fiery, but not tongue-searing (although there is a XXX spicy chicken breast available if you dare). The spice is tempered by a slather of creamy house-made jalapeno aioli and the sugary crust of the glazed doughnut, which makes a fine bun when sliced in half. The sandwich is a triumph of technique, but also excellent drunk food—but only for day drinkers (hey, we don’t judge), as Do-Rite stops serving chicken at 2:30 p.m.

Wait, there’s more
The usual assortment of Do-Rite doughnuts—from candied maple-bacon crullers to pistachio-meyer lemon cake doughnuts ($1.35-2.50)—are also available at this location. Wash ’em down with the frothy, refreshing iced Nutella coffee ($2.95), a mix of almond milk, Dark Matter coffee and Nutella, which Mahin says he invented by stirring Nutella into hot coffee at three in the morning while doing recipe testing for the restaurant. You can combo up the regular or spicy chicken sandwiches (which sans doughnut come on ustardy-rich brioche buns) with excellent almost mahogany-colored French fries hand cut and blanched in house daily ($6.99 for sandwich, soda and fries).

This article first appeared in Redeye Chicago in a different form.