Food Truck of the Week: Beavers Donuts

By Sarah Freeman  |  August 2, 2013
Credit: Nick Murway

Food Truck of the Week is our tribute to Chicago's booming food truck industry. We highlight the people putting the pedal to the metal in the street food scene.

Food trucks are a magical place where cuisine can run wild. In the confines of a tiny kitchen with unlimited possibilities and less financial risk than a restaurant, the offerings range from the traditional to the totally wacky. One of Chicago’s oldest food truck, Beavers Coffee + Donuts, falls on the kookier end of the scale. Their fried-to-order mini donuts are covered with customizable toppings including marshmallow sauce to sprinkles. Not only did the truck recently expand into a booth at the Chicago French Market, but also received its mobile food preparer license. Allowing the donut-makers to serve the streets, and not just private events.

This is just the first of what is sure to be a long line of successful trucks. Next up is a “pop up” truck outfitted with LED panels around the exterior. These panels can be custom designed to the specification of the guest chef (including some well-known celebs) that is cooking on the truck. Early runs of the new truck will begin in the fall.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The People

    Gabe Wiesen and Jim Nuccio have been working together for years on the marketing size of the restaurant industry. When they decided it was time to take ownership of their own venture, the looked to Wiesen’s sister, a baker in California and owner of Haute Skillet Truck. She tipped them off to the gourmet doughnut trend when only The Doughnut Vault had tapped the Chicago market. Another family connection out east led to the truck itself. Some of Wiesen’s family owns a food truck manufacturer. “We naturally had that great resource,” he said. “They are very well versed in building trucks in different markets and hour to get that path in Chicago.”

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The Truck

    According to Wiesen, when selling a relatively cheap produce the trick is selling a lot of it. “It’s build to be able to feed an army,” he said. That includes a custom doughnut robot that drops the mini doughnuts into 400-degree oil, flips them and transports them onto a conveyer belt to be sugar coated and decorated. The machines can crank out 200-dozen mini doughnuts per hour. The truck is also equipped with two coffee machines to freshly grind imported coffee. When the truck launched in late 2011, it was already a cook-on-bard vehicle. The trick was it only serviced private events and property. When the laws changed over a year later, Beaver’s was ready to go with a public license.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The Food

    As the name of the truck suggests, it serves two things: doughnuts and coffee (and doughnut milkshakes, but that just like the frosting on this cake). Doughnuts are served by the half dozen or dozen with a choice or regular or gourmet topping. The regular additions include cinnamon-sugar, powdered sugar and chocolate powder. The gourmet numbers feature combinations such as s’mores, turtle and PB&J. The truck recently added new gourmet combinations including caramel apple, banana-Nutella and strawberry Pop Rocks as well ass filled doughnuts. The doughnut milkshake is recent a seasonal addition, and is made by simply blending doughnut pieces into ice cream and topping it with a whole doughnut. Try and say no to that.