The Portland metro area has almost 2.4 million people. Usually an American city of this size has lots of tourist attractions. Portland does not. Ruth & I live across the Columbia River from it. When we have visitors who want to explore Portland, we usually take them to the seasonal rose garden, where it’s virtually impossible to park, and the Pittock Mansion. The State Museum downtown is awful.
Gardens are especially popular here, but the wonderful Japanese Garden is closed for renewal. The authentic Lan Su Chinese Garden is near Voodoo. The last time we entertained visitors, they wanted to go to only 2 places, Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, and Voodoo Doughnuts.
Voodoo Doughnuts has become a local phenomenon. The lines are often incredible as they were when we took our visiting friends to it. Their unconventional doughnuts are delicious. We went there yesterday to learn about the operation and ate 3. Their website says about their doughnuts, “Availability may vary due to supply, the voodoo gods, and gluttony.” That last one is indisputable. To visit Voodoo is to see boxes and boxes of their colorful creations leaving the store. We were surprised to learn that the founders had never made doughnuts before they went into the business.
Voodoo Doughnuts original 2003 location is in downtown Portland on 3rd Avenue. The number of Voodoo Doughnut stores has grown. There are now outlets in Eugene, Denver, Austin, and, oddly, Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.
This chain of doughnut delights was started by Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon, who apparently know this city, which proudly proclaims “Keep Portland Weird!”, quite well. Pogson and Shannon went to Los Angeles to master doughnut making. Marketing genius was clearly inherent.
Becoming competition for the people who taught them, Cat Daddy and Tres will soon open their first California location in the LA area. Their history is not unlike another California phenomenon that opened its first location despite competition, In-N-Out Burgers, Inc, which is headquartered in Irvine but is run by a family , not 2 smart friends.