Voodoo Doughnut – Portland, OR, United States

Traveling and experiencing the local restaurants in search of fantastic local food is a must for any traveler.  Especially when those restaurants are so unique that anything else like it would be plagiarized imitation.  Voodoo Doughnut epitomizes that place.  Voodoo Doughnut is characteristic Portland, Oregon.  Visited by Adam Richman and Anthony Bourdain from The Travel Channel, it’s a popular spot to say the least.  And the long lines at all times of the day (they are open 24 hours) is a testament to that.  There are three locations, but the newly remodeled original is located at 22 SW 3rd Avenue Portland, Oregon.  Right across from an unofficial Portland slogan, “Keep Portland Weird.”  So let’s look at their atmosphere, service and food shall we?

Open 24 hours

The original Voodoo Doughnut entrance.

"Keep Portland Weird" across from Voodoo Doughnut which Portland is living up to.

Voodoo Doughnut has one of the most original atmospheres.  They love pink, and not that sissy Mary Kay pink, full up Dennis Rodman loud in your face pink.  Their restaurants are pink inside.  The to-go boxes that you carry these sugar coated fat pills in is even pink.  Did I feel manly eating my doughnut’s from a pink box, no.  But let me tell you how much attention that pink box draws, holy crap.  It’s like a bug zapper to flies.  Walking through the Portland Saturday Market behind Voodoo Doughnut, I can’t tell you how many times I had to answer “Where did you get those doughnuts?”  Don’t even think about taking that pink love box through the airport, which I did to bring them home to my friends and family during one trip.  Of course there are the envious travelers making comments as I passed, but that was nothing to how the TSA treated me.  I swear the TSA was going to probe me just to confiscate them.  Knowing the 3oz liquid rule, they even threatened me with the whole “you don’t have jelly filled doughnuts in there do you?”  🙂  To their credit, the TSA were friendly and professional, but holy crap I wasn’t prepared for the reactions from people.  Back to the atmosphere.  The restaurants are all populated with their doughnuts, paraphernalia and various other goth and Halloween-ish decorations, such as the coffin that you can buy filled with doughnuts.  The staff is also major part of the atmosphere because they are all very friendly and colorful with most of them having unique tattoos, piercings and singing skills as you could here them singing in the back room making doughnuts.  Heck, I probably would be to if I was making these lovely morsels of goodness.  Oh and of course lots of pink.  The restaurants are truly full of a ton of eye entertainment as they are really fun restaurants to take in the sights as you wait in line for your joy buns.

Inside the original Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut To-Go Box - "Good Things Come In Pink Boxes"

While waiting in line outside, there's a glimpse of the magic that happens in the back.

Portland is notorious for homeless teenagers, which is really a shame because it is a cool city. This kid was sitting right next to Voodoo Doughnut where the long line of people were waiting outside.

So let’s discuss their service.  The wait is long, but worth it.  The place is cash only, which sucks when you want to buy a box of doughnuts and maybe a shirt or pair of panties.  Yup they sell them.  After all, their slogan is “The Magic is in the Hole”.  Quite fitting I thought.  🙂  The cashiers/servers are quick and I thought patient as it does take a little time to circumnavigate the menu.  I recommend trying to borrow the laminated menu so you are prepared for when you’re next in the queue.

Now the food.  Okay, a doughnut is still a doughnut.  It’s tough to rival Krispy Kreme’s “Hot Doughnuts Now” in the melt in your mouth doughnut texture and taste, but these are some tasty doughnuts.  However the creativity and convolution of textures and flavors of their doughnuts really sets the bar to the upper echelon of doughnut greatness.  Here are a few examples of their clever and outlandish varieties.  You have the Tex-Ass that has the diameter of a human head, the Voodoo Doll filled with raspberry jelly and a stake in the heart, the famous Maple Bacon Bar (which the sweet and salty truly is fabulous!), doughnuts covered in fruit loops, coco-puffs and captain krunch, Gay Bar with rainbow fruit loops on top, Cock-N-Balls (you get the picture on that one), the Maple Blazer Blunt that looks like a blunt, Marshal Matters covered in…M&M’s (surprised?), Dirty Snowballs, etc.  The list goes on and on with those creative nuggets.  The prices are around $1-2 for ‘normal’ sized and $4-5 for ‘special’ ones like the fritters and Tex-Ass, etc.  But make sure you bring cash!  Definitely check out their website though or just click on the pics below for more details.   http://voodoodoughnut.com

Voodoo Doughnut - "Voodoo Doll" doughnut raspberry filled and pretzel stabbed

Voodoo Doughnut - "Maple Bacon Bar" doughnut (awesome..)

Voodoo Doughnut - "Diablos Rex" doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut - "Butterfingering" doughnut covered in Butterfingers

Voodoo Doughnut - "Arnold Palmer" doughnut covered in powdered ice tea and lemonade

Voodoo Doughnut - "Memphis Mafia" fritter fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon sugar covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top.

Voodoo Doughnut - Old Dirty Bastard (O.D.B.) doughnut covered in chocolate frosting, crumbled Oreo’s and peanut butter drizzle.

Voodoo Doughnut - "Dirt Doughnut" covered in crumbled Oreo's and vanilla frosting.

Neal’s Ratings:

  • Atmosphere = A    (local, full of character)
  • Service =  A    (patient, everything ready and fresh.  Cash only though)
  • Food = A    (fantastic, outlandish doughnuts)

Now just a minor segue since Voodoo Doughnut is so close to it, if you hit up the downtown store on Saturday, you definitely need to meander behind it and visit the famous Portland Saturday Market.  It’s a really fun outdoor activity, full of local food, local music, local arts and crafts and some strange people.  Oh and they sell beer.  So definitely check it out.

The entrance to Portland Saturday Market

Portland Saturday Market and some locals

Portland Saturday Market - Another guy helping to keep Portland weird. We saw this guy all around downtown Portland, but here he is on the river walk at the Portland Saturday Market. Yes, your eyes don't deceive you, that's a stereo bungee tied to his handlebars. Oh wait, are those fake flowers and pink scarves tied to his hat? Why yes it is! What I want to know is, who is he talking to?!?! Now what is not captured in this captivating picture of Portland's finest, was the 'I'm high as a kite and I want to dance like I'm participating in a drum circle' gyrations that was was doing prior to this important phone call. Seriously, no joke.

Portland Saturday Market - Rogue Beer Karma

Portland Saturday Market - A Rogue Toast