Candy and sugar cereal covered doughnuts, slathered in colorful frosting, filled with flavored creams and bestowed with clever names; it’s the kind of inspiration you’d come up with after a few cocktails (and lose track of before the matching hangover sets in). But Voodoo Doughnut, dreamed up by Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Richard “Tres” Shannon while they tubed and boozed their way down Oregon’s Sandy River one summer day, is an unforgettable Portland experience that has sold millions of whacky snacks since opening their landmark downtown Portland location in December 2003. Since then, the company has opened other locations in Portland (Voodoo Doughnut Too), Eugene and Denver, Colo. — with further plans to expand internationally — but none have the same magic as the original.
Open 24 hours per day, seven days a week, this cozy corner shop attracts lines of doughnut worshippers from breakfast until last call. A social scene unto itself, the line for Voodoo can wrap around the block and is packed with anxious eaters. They come to sink their teeth into raised yeast treats like the Bacon Maple Bar (a multi-flavored handful, topped with rich frosting and crunchy meat candy), the Captain my Captain (a circular celebration crowned with Captain Crunch cereal) and the Old Dirty Bastard (a guilty pleasure piled high with chocolate frosting, crushed Oreos and peanut butter).
Inside the doughnut shop, service is quick, hot and fresh, with new creations constantly shuttled up from the back bakery. Some customers are allowed to linger inside with their treats, if they tie the knot while indulging in doughnuts. That’s right — the shop also performs fully legal weddings underneath a giant “holy” doughnut.
But most customers take their treats outside to enjoy at the picnic tables in Ankeny Alley. A year-round, open-air pedestrian zone that is closed to vehicular traffic, Ankeny Alley is situated right next door to the doughnut shop, amidst the hubbub of bars, clubs, and restaurants in the city’s Old Town district. It’s here where families, friends and famished partiers alike unpack their distinctive pink Voodoo boxes and succumb to the company’s sweet, sugary spell.