On our travels, I like to research the city we’re visiting and find out more about what’s on offer as far as restaurants, regional specialities and any ‘must try’ treats. Colour me a surprised shade of pink when I found out that Oregon hipster doughnut shop, Voodoo Doughnut had recently crossed borders to open an outpost in Denver, Colorado. This doughnut shop has grown from one to three shops in Portland and has further plans for doughnut domination. Not even NYC has a Voodoo Doughnut and yet here they were, in the same neighbourhood as my Air B’n’B digs.
Voodoo Doughnut rose to prominence with its fun and cryptically named donuts and flavours (Arnold Palmer anyone?) and its cool but not trying too hard, nonchalant air. It cemented its notoriety by producing doughnuts glazed with NyQuil cough mixture and dusting them with antacid Pepto Bismol, that were immediately targeted by the Health Department. These days, with four shops and plans to expand, the casual too cool for school attitude and eclectic fit out is a tad more corporatised than they’d like you to think but it’s still entertaining enough to get you in the door and buying.
As you know, I do not queue for meals and food. I had read about queues out the door as Coloradans got their fix of these crazy doughnuts but was happy to see only 2 people in the shop when we visited at 2.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon.
Scarier Than Baron Samedi
Voodoo’s theme colour is pink and as you enter the shop you see their ‘Good Things Come in Pink Boxes’ stacked on the counter. All doughnuts available are shown in a rotating display case which is unfortunately some distance away from where you are standing, in a strictly enforced roped queuing system. Even if you could get a good look at the fantastically decorated doughnuts in the cabinet, you have no way of cross checking the menu board against the individual doughnuts as they aren’t labeled. Some are easy to guess such as the best selling Bacon Maple Bar but most of the lurid hued doughnuts remain anonymous. When you get to the cashier – Do NOT cross the pink line on the floor until you are called – you must make your selection without dithering. The staff are scary, angry, annoyed and they don’t want any chit chat from you! If you’re asking about a doughnut in the cabinet, you sure as heck better be ordering it. You should know that the doughnut with the pentagram on it is the Diablos Rex. If you don’t, bow to your server, kiss your rosary and make sure you leave an extra tip! In the end we went with a Voodoo Doll (easy to guess), an Old Dirty Bastard (great name) and a Triple Chocolate Penetration (you point, you buy). As detached as my server may have been, she still tried an upsell. Cashier zombies at Voodoo need to sell a certain amount per shift to keep their sweet job. If I was buying an Old Dirty Bastard, would I like to add a Marshall Mathers and a Maple Blazer Blunt for a ‘Rapper’s Delight’ set? It was a ‘no’ from us this time as we had more than sufficient.
Aint’ That A Peach
There’s no dining in at Voodoo. Pay for your doughnuts (cash only) and leave. We carried our pretty pink box back to our house and dissected the Voodoo Doll with its cute pretzel stake and jam innards. The verdict? Really, it’s just a yeast doughnut, similar in taste and texture to Krispy or Dunkin’. In keeping with its alternate appeal, there are several vegan options including the Diablos. It’s some very clever marketing though and you can hardly complain about the price. Three very large doughnuts for less than $6. They could easily charge $6 each and still have a cult following. If you don’t mind the detached, slight abrupt attitude, you can have fun with a sweet treat payoff for just a few dollars. A cheap tourist attraction indeed.
Voodoo is open 24hrs a day which is very handy, particularly in Denver given its location right beside a ‘Wellness Centre’ where marijuana is legally dispensed.
There are dozens of doughnuts to choose from but here are the ones mentioned in this post:
- Tangfastic (Cake doughnut, vanilla frosting, Tang & 3 marshmallows)
- Arnold Palmer (Cake doughnut, vanilla frosting, lemonade/ice tea dust)
- Bacon Maple Bar (Raised yeast doughnut, maple frosting, bacon on top)
- Diablos Rex (Chocolate cake doughnut, chocolate frosting, red sprinkles, vanilla pentagram and chocolate chips in the middles)
- Voodoo Doll (Raised yeast doughnut, chocolate frosting, filled with jam, pretzel stake)
- Old Dirty Bastard (Raised yeast doughnut chocolate frosting, Oreos, peanut butter)
- Triple Chocolate Penetration (Chocolate cake doughnut, chocolate frosting, cocoa puffs)
- Marshall Mathers (Cake doughnut, vanilla frosting, mini M&Ms)
- Maple Blazer Blunt (Raised yeast doughnut, rolled into a blunt, dusted in cinnamon sugar. Maple frosted tip with red sprinkle embers)
- Aint’ That A Peach (Peach fritter, cream cheese frosting, pink and orange sprinkles)
1520 E Colfax Ave