But Voodoo Doughnut is far from anyone’s idea of a ordinary doughnut shop. For example, my usual treat of choice is the (tactfully titled) Gay Bar, a raised yeast doughnut injected with Bavarian cream. Vanilla frosting and sweet, crunchy Froot Loops make the whole thing positively delectable. But when I need something different, the store’s signature Voodoo Doll works just fine. Baked in the shape of a doll (already slightly creepy), red, blue, and chocolate frosting depict a crazed face. And as if this wasn’t enough, the doughnuteers drive pretzel stakes through the hearts of every doll. Squeeze in the right place, and out oozes… raspberry jelly. Pure genius, and it can lead to my friends and I biting off the dolls’ heads and and sucking out the jelly like vampires. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and order one.
Eugene, Oregon, is known, for its culture of creativity. Maybe it’s the enormous amount of grass seed that comes into the air every spring, the 49.4 inches of precipitation per year, or the fact that Ken Kesey made the city one of his intellectual birthplaces. One thing’s for sure, though: creativity reigns. The DIY culture abounds in Eugene, in happy conjunction with the “high” arts, such as drawing and painting. I’ve seen both Handel’s Messiah at the Oregon Bach Festival and the works of the Radar Angels guerilla art group here.
So when the folks of Voodoo Doughnut up in Portland, Oregon, were looking for a place to launch their third store (referred to within the community as Voodoo Doughnut Tres), Eugene must have appeared as the obvious choice.
Apart from their doughnuts, the Voodoo brand is recognizable by their signature pink t-shirts. Cheeky sayings like “Magic Is In The Hole” and “I Got VD in Portland” adorn everything from infant onesies to ladies’ underpants.
The shops are keenly tuned to the local culture, wherever they may be located. Their Facebook page regularly cites articles from publications based in Eugene and Portland. The Eugene shop is adorned with posters of movies that have all been set somewhere in Oregon.
The success of Voodoo Doughnut has become a source of pride in both of the communities in which the shops reside. It serves as proof that the Pacific Northwest does indeed have services and businesses that matter to the rest of the country.
Whether you find it endearing or obnoxious, Voodoo Doughnut is slowly evolving into one of the symbols of the Northwest. The company has been featured on the Today Show, the Cooking Channel, and recently People magazine. The national attention has been incredible, but thankfully, Voodoo hasn’t lost its experimental nature. When the store’s founders Tres Shannon and Kenneth Pogson were featured on NPR’s feature show Day to Day in 2007, it was originally due to their attempt to create a trans-fat free doughnut. But the two founders couldn’t resist talking about their last crazy venture.
“It was a Tums doughnut, where we had a Pepto Bismol-vanilla frosting with crushed Tums on top,” Pogson explained in the interview. The doughnut (designed to serve as a hangover cure) was banned because it was technically food mixed with medicine. The Health Department didn’t take too kindly to that, apparently.
To me, Voodoo Doughnut represents the future of the Pacific Northwest. Sure, a lot of businesses in these parts are quirky. But they’re also a force to be reckoned with. By believing in their product, even in times of economic downturn, Voodoo has managed to earn nationwide renown in less than ten years. This is incredible, considering the relatively small size of the city of Portland (and Eugene).
The success of Voodoo Doughnut has become a source of pride in both of the communities in which the shops reside. It serves as proof that the Pacific Northwest does indeed have services and businesses that matter to the rest of the country. Like logging. And book stores. And doughnuts with names like the Memphis Mafia and the Grape Ape.
We Want to Know:
- Have you been to Voodoo Doughnut? What’s your favorite menu selection there?
- Is their a business that reminds you or shares a similar ethos with Voodoo Doughnut?
Start the discussion below and be sure to experience the confectionary bliss at Voodoo Doughnut when you’re in the Eugene or Portland areas!