chicago food

Voodoo Doughnut CEO dishes on future Chicago location: ‘It's really going to feel like Chicago'

Chris Schultz's team is hard at work determining Chicago-centric details of the store, interior and food

NBC Universal, Inc.

The CEO of Voodoo Doughnut doesn't take the popular donut chain's entrance into Chicago lightly, and he insists the future Windy City destination for Voodoo's 50 decadent donut varieties is "worth the wait" -- in more ways than one.

"We've been looking in Chicago for a number of years, just looking for the right location," Chris Schultz told NBC Chicago in an interview. "Chicago ... it's so big and so diverse with so many different, amazing neighborhoods -- truly amazing neighborhoods -- and we've been looking, waiting for the right place to land."

Of course, fans of Portland-based Voodoo Doughnut know the brand's shops tend to draw lines of people awaiting pastries like the Bacon Maple Bar, a raised donut bar with maple frosting and bacon, and its 25 equally delicious vegan offerings.

So when Voodoo Doughnut announced it would open a store in Chicago's Fulton Market neighborhood, there understandably were questions.

Chicago will soon be the site of a new-to-the-Chi donut destination courtesy Voodoo Doughnut, the Portland-based dough slinger drawing lines out the door in 20 other U.S. cities for its decadent options, including the specialty Bacon Maple Bar.

Where will the new Voodoo open? Answer: 945 W. Randolph St.

How many people will be hired? Schultz said 75 people will be hired for the Chicago location to help satisfy donut cravings late into the night.

When will it open? A press release initially announcing the opening said "more details will be disclosed in the forthcoming months," but we asked Schultz, who said: "We're going to open before the end of the year. That's what they tell me."

In the meantime, the future Voodoo location has been painted on-brand bright pink ("there will be no hiding where we're going to be," Schultz said), and Schultz's team is hard at work determining Chicago-centric details of the store, interior and food. But don't expect a derivative of Chicago pride.

"People have brought a bunch of ideas to me," Schultz said, "but you know, I think it's got to be unique and be different and really speak to Chicago itself and be authentic. The most important part for Voodoo is we're a very authentic brand. We don't try to be what we're not."

By the way, if you're wondering whether Voodoo Doughnut's recent acceleration of openings, including five new spots this year, they're not eyeing any other Midwest locations besides Chicago. "When you get to Chicago, that's as far as you can go to get a Voodoo Doughnut," Schultz said.

Voodoo Doughnut currently offers donuts at shops in Oregon, Colorado, Texas, California, Washington, Arizona, Tennessee and Florida. Its 21st location marks the first in Illinois.

Guests to the future Chicago location can expect hand-picked chandeliers, black velvet painting, good mojo and lots and lots of donuts.

"We're going to build this store to feel like it's a Chicago store, and not like we just picked up and moved from Portland to Chicago. It's super important for us to be a part of the neighborhood."

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