Eat & Drink

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Meet the man behind VooDoo Doughnut.

May 2014

—Image courtesy of Christina Elston

The man behind Voodoo talks doughnuts, Casa Bonita, and Bacon Maple Ale. If Dunkin’ Donuts signifies East Coast traditionalism, then Voodoo Doughnut—the Portland, Oregon–based business that opened a location on East Colfax Avenue in December—surely denotes West Coast wackiness. The doughnuts’ outré shapes (voodoo dolls, marijuana blunts, male genitalia), the double entendres of its slogans (“Good things come in pink boxes”), and its carnival-esque atmosphere (wedding ceremonies!) befit a brand co-founded by the former owner and booking agent for the legendarily festive, now-defunct Portland alt-rock club X-Ray Cafe. We recently caught up with Tres Shannon, 48, who spent his elementary school days in the Mile High City and Monument years before co-establishing his City of Roses fried-dough empire in 2003.

“Doughnut” versus “donut”?
We make doughnuts out of “dough.” Not “do.” Why would  you spell it “do-nut”? 

Which Voodoo doughnut is the most popular?
The Bacon Maple Bar. It’s just like breakfast: pancakes, syrup, and bacon.  

Would you classify your doughnuts as addictive?
We sell a vice. It’s sugar. It’s a different kind of high, though: Adults aren’t eating too many doughnuts and then going out and beating people up. 

What’s next after Voodoo’s beer collaboration—Bacon Maple Ale—with Oregon’s Rogue Ales?
I’m telling you guys first: We’ll be doing a Rogue liquor of some sort with Rogue Spirits. Maybe we’ll start with a vodka, work from there, see what happens. 

Willing to share a Colorado food memory?
I love Casa Bonita, but that doesn’t make me a foodie! It brings me back to first grade in Denver. I swear they used to have divers from Acapulco.  

As Oregon food and coffee brands expand across the United States (Pok Pok and Stumptown Coffee Roasters opened in New York; Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings and Thump Coffee opened in Denver), does Portland have a cachet that it’s exporting as well?
I don’t feel we’re forcing Portland on you. And if for some reason it comes off that way and it’s successful, that’s great, I guess. But it’s not a thought-out process. Denver’s a wonderful city on its own merits. 

Any perks of the trade?
Handing doughnuts out is like giving people flowers.