Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, Ore.
Perhaps no place lives up to the term “hole in the wall” better than Voodoo Doughnut. Located in downtown Portland, Oregon on the western side of the Willamette River, Voodoo Doughnut is hidden so well that you’ll miss it if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. This actually happened to me, as I couldn’t find it on my first trip to the City of Roses in 2009 and had to give it up so I could catch my flight from PDX.
Luckily, Idaho State plays at Portland State every year, so I got a second chance to find the elusive doughnuts a year later while I was still covering Bengal basketball. This time in better daylight and on foot, I was able to find what I was looking for, and I’m darn glad I did. Voodoo Doughnut is home to some of the most creative names and pastries available. Here’s a list of some of what you can expect to be waiting for you at Voodoo, the No. 20 restaurant on the Chowdown Countdown.
Portland Cream: Chocolate yeast doughnut filled with Bavarian cream
Triple chocolate penetration: Chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate icing and Cocoa Puffs
Grape Ape: Yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting, grape dust and lavender sprinkles
Gay Bar: Yeast bar doughnut filled with cream, frosted and topped with a rainbow of Froot Loops
Marshall Matters: Vanilla frosted doughnut covered in M&M’s
Memphis Mafia: Doughnut with banana chunks and cinnamon sugar, covered with peanut butter, chocolate frosting, peanuts and chocolate chips.
As you can tell, this place is creative, and I haven’t even mentioned my doughnuts of choice yet. As you probably gathered from the main picture, I had to order a Voodoo Doll, which begins life as a bar doughnut, but then has its arms pulled apart to give it the doll look. It’s frosted with chocolate, given a face and then has its bottom half injected with raspberry jelly. A pretzel stick is then added to complete the look. It tastes simply wonderful. If you like chocolate and raspberry, as my mom does, you will love this.
My other doughnut, I really don’t wish to name, but I will: It’s called an Old Dirty Bastard. What is it? It’s a chocolate-frosted yeast doughnut, topped with Oreos and peanut butter. It is incredible, as you can see for yourself.
But that’s not even the strangest thing about Voodoo Doughnut, nor is it their Maple Bacon Bar, which is served with actual bacon on top of a maple-frosted doughnut. Their strangest doughnuts aren’t on the menu anymore because the health inspector told them they had to stop making two doughnuts, the Nyquil Glaze and the Vanilla Pepto Crushed Tums.
Yes, for a time, they actually sold one doughnut with Nyquil and the other with Pepto-Bismol and Tums. Apparently, the goal of the second was to be used to try to help people recover from a night of drinking. Novel idea, but apparently the health inspectors disagreed. But that’s not the strangest thing about this place. The strangest thing about this place is they perform weddings here.
No, I didn’t make that up. For a couple hundred bucks, you can legitimately get married at any of Voodoo Doughnut’s three locations, and these are legal marriages performed by a minister. No word on if anyone has attempted to marry a doughnut.
For sheer creativity, Voodoo Doughnut is worth a look. But it’s the quality of the doughnuts that make this place amazing. This place takes quality so seriously that they will not ship doughnuts (they say the product’s shelf-life is 8 to 12 hours) and they will not guarantee you can purchase a dozen doughnuts without calling ahead your order 24 hours in advance, because they don’t want to serve sub-standard doughnuts. All restaurants should have those high standards of quality.
Time to go: Whenever the heck you want. Voodoo Doughnut is open 24 hours a day except for certain holidays at all three of its locations.
Wait during my visit: None, but I went at 6 a.m. It is possible the wait could increase with the original restaurant’s expansion, as the size has greatly increased which could allow for people to eat at the restaurant.
Location: The original is located on 22 Southwest 3rd Avenue in Portland. They have a second location at 1501 Northeast Davis Street on the other side of the Willamette River in Portland, and a third two hours south in Eugene.
Parking: Don’t bother. Portland is not a very car-friendly city, as most of the locals prefer to either bike or hop on public transportation. Your best bet is to take the Red or Blue Line of MAX (Portland’s rail system) to the Skidmore Fountain Station, which is two blocks from Voodoo.
This only applies if you’re going to the original location. If you’re going to the Davis Street location, you’ll be fine. That store has plenty of parking available.
Cost: Very wallet-friendly. Doughnuts are inexpensive, and this is no exception. You can buy a couple doughnuts and spend about three dollars.
Website: Voodoo Doughnut
Signature items: Doughnuts