Speaking of local eateries…
I read yesterday that Voodoo Doughnut is expanding outside of Oregon. Sorry, Jess – they’re not coming to Wisconsin. But they are opening a location in Denver this fall. And I’ve gotta say, the news does not thrill me.
I have nothing against the Mile High City. I’m quite fond of it, as a matter of fact. Home to my favorite NFL team (go, Broncos!). Great scenery. Fun vibe. In fact, Tara and I are planning a trip there this October. We’re planning on catching a Broncos game – a lifelong dream for me. And maybe touring the haunted Stanley Hotel in the Rockies. Our itinerary is undecided yet, but one thing is certain: we won’t be stopping at Voodoo Doughnut.
I’m not a hater. Voodoo Doughnut is awesome. They put the bacon maple bar on the doughnut map. What bugs me is, they’re quintessentially Portland. A local institution. I often read Portland-themed blogs, and have come across many a post from people visiting here on vacation. There are two spots they always go to: Powell’s Books, and Voodoo Doughnut. Both are Portland icons. Take them away, plop them down somewhere else, and they’re no longer as special. They don’t define the city they way they used to.
What if somebody wanted to recreate the Statue of Liberty? And build it in, let’s say, Las Vegas? That would be an outrage, right?
Oh. Wait a minute…
But I stand by my point. And kind of feel a bit hypocritical wishing that In-N-Out Burger and White Castle would open up franchises out here (although in those cases, there are a lot more than just three locations like Voodoo has). I don’t want a Voodoo Doughnut on every corner. Hell, I was kind of irritated when they opened a shop in Eugene, and that’s just two hours down Interstate 5. If you can get a Grape Ape or a Tangfastic or a Triple Chocolate Penetration or a Gay Bar or a Maple Blazer Blunt in Denver – or in San Francisco or New York or Los Angeles someday, as the article alludes to – then it’s no longer a Portland institution. You might as well change the name to McVoodoo.
It’s bad enough that Stumptown Coffee was sold to a bunch of New Yorkers, and Andy Ricker (Pok Pok and a number of other notable Portland eateries) is opening up versions of his restaurants in New York. But don’t water down our beloved Voodoo! Keep Portland weird. Don’t make other cities weird.
What’s next? Bunk Sandwiches in Chicago? Pine State Biscuits in Atlanta? Boke Bowl in Sioux City? Say it ain’t so!
A city needs something to point to and say, that’s ours. For ten years, in Portland that has been Voodoo Doughnut. Now, the best we can say is, that’s ours…and also theirs. It’s the end of an era. The “magic in the hole” feels a little less magical this morning.
But such is life.
On a related note, I am slightly changing the focus of my blog. I’ve already updated the About Me page to reflect this, and changed my tagline to Peace, Love & Wordiness in the Pacific Northwest. That’s the heart of the change. I love this place so much, I want it to take a starring role in the blog, instead of being relegated to occasionally recurring guest. I’ll still write about all my usual topics – writing, pop culture, my upcoming nuptials – but I want to add more stuff about Portland and the Pacific Northwest. This post is an excellent example. I still hope to appeal to a wide audience, but I hope locals especially find the blog and start reading. I’m not looking to become the definitive voice of the Pacific Northwest or anything, but…
…well, actually, that sounds like a great thing to aspire to, after all. I wouldn’t be upset with a title like that.
So, thanks for continuing to follow along, regardless of where you live. My readers range from as far away as Ecuador to as close as the other side of the bed. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. You guys rock.