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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Chatham’s Dat Donut Reopens To A Crowd After City Shutdown: ‘People Are Back’

Owner Darryl Townson said customers were already back in line at his South Side doughnut shop Tuesday morning.

Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHATHAM — A popular South Side doughnut shop is back in business after being shut down by the city for two weeks.

Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave., reopened Tuesday morning, serving up fresh, hand-cut doughnuts. Co-owner Darryl Townson said it was business as usual as customers poured into the restaurant. 

“The crowd is back. People are back,” Townson said. “People were excited and glad to see us back open.”

Dat Donut closed March 15 after the city’s Building Department “noted dangerous and hazardous conditions that posed an imminent threat to public safety,” a business department spokesperson said. City officials found 11 violations, ranging from open and exposed electrical wiring to insufficient fire separation in storage areas. 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A customer walks up to Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave., to be disappointed upon seeing that it is temporarily closed in Chatham on March 22, 2022.

Townson, who co-owns the shop with his wife, Andrea Townson, said the inspection was “out of the blue.” Townson, the co-owner of Dat Donut for 28 years, said he had never before been cited by the city.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), whose ward includes the doughnut shop, said a shooting over the weekend prompted a city task force to inspect buildings on the street.

Townson had hoped to resume business as early as last week, but it took longer than expected to get a city inspector to review the changes he’d made at the shop, he said.

A city inspector came to Dat Donut Monday and cleared it to reopen, Townson said. 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Dat Donut, 8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave., is temporarily closed in Chatham on March 22, 2022.

Local officials, organizations, and neighbors rallied behind Townson. Harris said she was working with the city and Townson so he could “open right back up.” 

Melinda Kelly, president of the Chatham Business Association, said she believed the shop should have “been given a chance” to make the necessary repairs before the city forced Townson to close. The violations against Dat Donut “were not grievous enough to shut it down,” 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’s glad to continue his work in the community. 

“We’re going to continue to monitor things and make sure that everything is up to par,” he said. 

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