CHATHAM — A popular South Side doughnut shop failed a city inspection and was shut down this week, but the owners said they’re confident they can return Monday.
Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave., stopped serving its hand-cut doughnuts Tuesday morning, much to neighbors’ dismay. The city’s building department closed the business “after an inspection noted dangerous and hazardous conditions that posed an imminent threat to public safety,” a spokesperson said.
City officials found 11 violations, including open and exposed electrical wiring, no working emergency lighting system, no smoke detectors, no carbon monoxide detectors, improper storage of flammable gases and materials, and insufficient fire separation in the storage area and other areas.
Darryl Townson, who owns Dat Donut with his wife, Andrea Townson, said the inspection was “out of the blue” and they’ve never run afoul of city regulations during 28 years in business.
Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) said a shooting over the weekend prompted a city task force to inspect multiple buildings on the street, and inspectors came to Dat Donut Tuesday morning.
“They came in and found some exit lights not working, some outlets that needed to be replaced,” Darryl Townson said. “They found their reasons to shut us down.”
Townson said they could have made the necessary fixes while staying open, but the city ordered the building to be made off limits to customers. Townson said he’s been working every day to fix the problems.
“Electricians are doing what needs to be done now, and we’ll call them out for a re-inspection,” Townson said. “I’m going to call the alderman’s office and the Chatham Business Association because they’re on it also, and, hopefully, we should be open by Monday.”
Harris said she’s working with Townson to reopen Dat Donut as soon as possible.
“He’s going to do everything that the city asked him to do,” Harris said. “I’m working with the city so that, as soon as he gets into compliance, he can open right back up.”
Dat Donut has served the Chatham community since 1994. Known for fluffy yeast donuts and the Big Dat mega-doughnut, the shop has become a citywide staple. Harris said she plans to keep it that way.
“He’s a great business with a great business plan, and he has a product that people love,” Harris said. “We love the doughnuts, and we can’t wait for them to open back up.”
Townson said customers have regularly come up to the shop wondering when they can grab food again. Neighbors are upset, he said.
“A lot of customers have come in and called waiting for us to open back up, and a lot of people in the neighborhood are pissed off,” Townson said. “We’ve been here so long as a staple in the neighborhood, and people are upset it’s closed.”
The inspection was just a hiccup, Townson said.
“We’ll be back,” Townson said. “We’re just going to correct these things that they asked us to correct, and we’ll continue moving forward.”
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