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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

South Side Staple Dat Donut Is Still Closed, But Owners Hope To Reopen Soon

Locals are rallying around Dat Donuts and questioning why it was forced to closed after not having issues before. Its owner, Darryl Townson, said he's losing money and hopes to reopen this week.

Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHATHAM — A beloved South Side doughnut shop remains closed despite the owners’ attempts to reopen this week.

Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave., had to close Thursday after city inspectors “noted dangerous and hazardous conditions that posed an imminent threat to public safety,” a city business department spokesperson said.

Darryl Townson, who has co-owned and operated the shop with his wife, Andrea Townson, for 28 years, hoped to reopen Monday. But Dat Donut remained closed Tuesday morning and was facing going a week without business.

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.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Townson said Tuesday he was waiting for an inspector to come to the shop and review the fixes he’d made. He’s focused on doing everything he can to reopen because the shop is losing money, he said.

Townson said the inspection was “out of the blue” after decades of never violating city regulations.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), whose ward includes the doughnut shop, 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.

Local officials and organizations have rallied behind Townson to reopen his shop.

Harris said Townson has “a great business with a great business plan.” Since the shop’s closure, she’s worked with Townson to ensure he can open his doors sooner rather than later, Harris said.

“We love the doughnuts, and we can’t wait for them to open back up,” Harris said.

Melinda Kelly, president of the Chatham Business Association, said she is also working with Townson to reopen Dat Donut.

“There are bad businesses, and there are good businesses, and
Dat Donut is such a great business and asset to the community on so many different levels,” Kelly said. “They just need to be open.”

Kelly said the violations against Dat Donut “were not grievous enough to shut it down.”

Drastic measures — like forced closures — usually don’t happen when owners operate their business with the support of local officials and organizations, as Townson does, Kelly said. Dat Donut should have “been given a chance” before the problem was escalated, Kelly said.

“The good businesses, we need to reward them by making sure we all are in communication with each other so that we don’t interrupt their business, especially coming after COVID,” Kelly said.

Townson said he hopes he can open this week.

Kelly said she’ll work to make sure Dat Donut never again has to close up shop unexpectedly.

“We’re going to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, and at the same time, we’re going to try to right a wrong and get them opened while we work on whatever findings they feel are there,” Kelly said.

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