Los Angeles-based Mochinut, a cafe chain that specializes in chewy mochi doughnuts and Korean-style hot dogs on sticks, aims to soon make its debut in the Chicago market.
The chain debuted in 2020, a spinoff of a Canadian brand, Chung Chun Rice Hot Dogs — the first Mochinut opened inside a Chung Chun in Southern California. As they’ve opened across the country, Mochinut has sold Chung Chun’s signature skewered treats. Mochinut quickly gained a following in Southern California and pursued a rapid expansion plan taking them to Dallas, San Diego, and Vegas.
As far as Chicago, Mochinut’s operators haven’t announced a specific location — they’ve only teased that they’re considering spaces in Wicker Park, West Loop, and suburban Skokie, according to a series of Instagram story posts. It’ll be the first Illinois outpost for the chain, which currently operates 25 locations across five states. The ambitious company is expanding rapidly with 90 more new shops in the works, including spots in Thailand and South Korea, according to its website. Ownership has not yet responded to a request for more information.
Mochi doughnuts — sweet glutenous rice flour treats with a distinctive chewy texture and glossy, colorful icing — aren’t entirely new to Chicago. Gaijin, chef Paul Virant’s (Vie) stylish okonomiyaki-focused restaurant in West Loop, has served them for dessert since it opened in 2019. Mochinut touts 25 different flavors, including black sesame, ube, banana milk, and matcha.
The chain also offers a handful of Korean-style corn dogs that customers can order with cheese and/or an additional coating of diced potatoes, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos dust, or bits of crispy ramen noodles. The dogs conveniently come on state fair-style sticks to keep fingers clean. A short beverage menu includes milk and fruit teas with boba.