Restaurant News

Voodoo Doughnut Opens Today

Right through the heart.
Right through the heart. Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Voodoo Doughnut, 3715 Washington, is finally here. The grand opening is January 15 at 10 a.m. and there will definitely be a long line of drooling dough nuts. The festivities begin with a ribbon cutting, live band and giveaways. The first 28 customers will receive a free Voodoo Dozen in honor of Texas being the 28th state in the United States. For every doughnut sold during the grand opening, a portion of the sales will go to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. There will also be a wedding amid the excitement. Both Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson and Tres Shannon are legally ordained to perform the marital ceremony, as are some of the staff at the various locations.

Pogson and Shannon are lifelong friends who founded the doughnut shop in downtown Portland in 2003. Its customers loved its funkiness and now the brand has expanded outside Oregon to Denver and Los Angeles and Texas. It opened an Austin store in October 2015. The Houston shop makes the ninth, with plans to open three to five more locations in 2020.

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Trays of treats awaits doughnut lovers.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
According to Marketing Director Sara Heise, Houston has CEO Chris Schultz, or "our fearless leader" as she terms him,  to thank for its' landing in the city. Schultz was with Starbucks for 13 years before taking the helm at MOD Pizza and expanding it from one location to 300. When we asked Schultz, who joined Voodoo Doughnut as CEO in 2017, what made him choose Houston, he answered, " Why not?" He went on to praise Houston's diversity and the fact that people are just now beginning to realize how cool and exciting Houston is. Pogson asked if we were trying to keep Houston a secret so that people wouldn't move here. We told him it was too late. Our secret is out.

Aside from the CEO's and founders' enthusiasm, the staff are smiling and ready to deliver up the creative and tasty treats with more than 50 different options. There are cake and raised yeast doughnuts, with some flavors available as vegan. Some of the flavors are oh-so-naughty and some are playful. Sugar-sweet cereals have become a common topping for doughnuts and Voodoo has choices like Oh Captain, My Captain with Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries on top. Others have Cocoa Puffs and Fruit Loops.  The Old Dirty Bastard is a peanut butter and chocolate lover's dream with crushed Oreos and peanut butter. The Memphis Mafia takes it even further with banana chunks and cinnamon over a glazed fried dough drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter.

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The Bacon Maple Bar is a favorite.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Some of the big sellers are its mascot Voodoo Doll which varies in design, but is covered in chocolate and has a pretzel stuck somewhere in its body. The Bacon Maple Bar is another big seller. Unlike a lot of sweets with bacon, these do not have bits sprinkled on top. These babies have two strips of legit-sized bacon.

Things get even crazier with the Cock-N-Balls, a specialty doughnut with two chocolate-covered, Bavarian cream-filled doughnuts framing a twist doughnut, sort of like, ahem, a Long John. Then, there's the Butterfingering. Yes, it's a doughnut covered in bits of Butterfinger candy bar. There's also a recent creation, the Cannolo. It's twisted dough filled like a cannoli with a choice of almond cream cheese, chocolate Bavarian cream or apple cinnamon.

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Doughnut porn.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
For traditionalists, there are classic glazed and cake doughnuts. Not everything is over-the-top or Instagram-necessary. Your grandma will like the Buttermilk Bar. The doughnuts vary in price, but the best deal is to get either the Voodoo Dozen with 13 special flavors for $20 or the Classic Dozen which is 13 yeast and cake donuts mixed for $14. You have to like a place that gives you a baker's dozen.

The decor is vintage doughnut shop with pink the predominant color, including a pink Texas neon sign. The mural on the wall of the voodoo priest that decorates every box of doughnuts was done by local artist Wiley Robertson. The rotating cases of colorful temptations flank the counter and the labeling makes it easy to order. A buffalo head hangs on the wall as a nod to the Buffalo Heights neighborhood. All the while, Houston native Patrick Swayze's handsome face looks down from a starry heaven.

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Swayze looks a bit disapproving. It's probably the naughty doughnuts.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
The Houston location will be the first to offer a drive-thru, which is a great thing, considering how swamped the inside will be for a while. And, dig this, it's open 24/7. So, when you leave one of the Washington strip hot spots a bit worse for the wear, your designated driver can take you to Voodoo Doughnut for a sugar cure at any time of the night.

Voodoo Doughnut
3715 Washington
Open 24 hours, daily
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.