The Saga of Punkin’ Donuts

“When Punkin’ Donuts was at its peak in the mid- to late 1980s, Lakeview had a rough reputation. “It was still kind of hairy,” says Dwayne Thomas, a Cabrini-Green native. “People were like, ‘Ooh, that area is kind of crazy.’ It was, like, gangbangers, drug dealers, hookers, transgender people. It was a huge melting pot.” In the punk crowd around Belmont and Clark, antiracist skinheads rolled deep. “That was our area—we felt normal in that area,” Dwayne says. “People in my neighborhood didn’t dress like that and didn’t listen to that type of music. I saw people who dressed and believed in the same things I believed in—they had the same type of convictions. We fought the same kind of causes.”

-Leor Galil, “The saga of Punkin’ Donuts.” The Chicago Reader. April 8, 2020

An interesting exploration of how one strange thing can transform a neighborhood.