FRIED DOUGH! We know it’s not great for us, but it tastes so good. Portland has recently made a name for itself in the doughnut (donut?) world as a launching ground for international and hipster haven fried pastry shops. So I took it upon myself and my family to discover what kids ages 4-10 thought. All the shops left us satisfied customers. You can’t really go wrong. I mean, they are peddling donuts after all, but here are our detailed reviews:
With four spots to choose from in Portland (also two in Japan, and one in Los Angeles), we started our pastry investigations at the Hawthorne location. They are child-friendly, and it was only a short wait.
Using a fresh, brioche dough, these doughnuts are high quality. My son and I ended up trading because he ordered the raspberry rosemary, a little culinary advanced for his palette, but perfect for mine. I ordered and then gave my son the Cointreau Crème Brule sans Cointreau. He loved this sweet donut, and later used the empty flavor infuser as a water toy.
Vegan Friendly? Yes! Rotating options are available.
This doughnut hole dealer is the go-to for allergy-concerned moms. With delectable organic, gluten free, AND vegan bites made to order right in front of you, they are fresh and hot, but are often so busy there’s a bit of a wait. But, they are worth it, especially if you can’t have gluten. Flavors include dark chocolate, cinnamon and sugar, and if you’re lucky, they may have their infamous lemon poppy seed as well.
You can find their ‘pop up’ shops regularly serving at the Tea Bar on Killingsworth on Saturdays, and in the Salem area at Archive Coffee & Bar on Fridays. And they show up in other Portland area locations as well (check their Facebook page for up to date locations.)
Vegan Friendly? Absolutely! All of their doughnut holes are vegan, and gluten free.
This was the most family-friendly place we checked out. They have high chairs, bathrooms, and a whole bookshelf of kids books to look at while they wait for fresh, mini-doughnuts.
Served warm and offered in a unique variety of flavors, if you are looking for a doughnut shop that appeals to both children and adults while offering an atmosphere perfect for a play date, this is your best bet. My 10-year-old loved the “Dirty Wu,” a hot cinnamon-sugar doughnut with a Nutella and raw honey drizzle. Others include amused flavors like candied bacon and strawberry rhubarb.
Vegan Friendly? No, but they do have vegan Squirrel Bars as an option.
This was a last-minute addition to our doughnut tour, but I am SO glad we checked it out! Two of my children and I gave this place the ‘best tasting’ designation. I had never been there before, but walking in felt like home. It was the perfect place for a coffee or tea and a book or keyboard, but not so great for four young children. While the doughnuts are superb, the quiet and peaceful ambiance is something I would have relished more on my own. If you are in need of a break and some freshly-made, hot, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts, this is the place to go.
Vegan Friendly? Unfortunately not at this time.
This shop is for the novelty hunter who wants to try something new, and a kitschy place to take tourist friends. As for being child-friendly, what can you expect from a place with VooDoo in the title? My younger kids just saw a pink building with candy and cereal on top of their doughnuts, but my oldest child practically refused to go in. Granted, it does feel a little like a Hansel & Gretel trap with pinball machines and elephants to ride, right alongside their cigar-shaped and voodoo doll doughnuts.
We went to VooDoo Too because it is in a location easier to reach with kids. More space, fewer adult clubs nearby, and has its own parking lot. The staff was friendly and the doughnuts were tasty. Two of the kids said this was their favorite shop, but if you want to avoid awkward questions you might not be ready to answer, leave the kiddos at home. And don’t forget, CASH ONLY!
Vegan Friendly? Yes, a whole spinning shelf just for those who would prefer not to eat animal products.