Donuts/Doughnuts, Portland Style

Contributed by: Amber D’Ambrosio is Processing Archivist & Records Manager at Willamette University, a small, urban liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon, where she manages the collections and wrangles ArchivesSpace and Archivematica. In her spare time she writes, reads about early modern London, hikes, travels, and obsessively visits the Oregon Coast.

You’ve probably heard rumors about the Portland donut scene, and I’m just scratching the surface with the those most accessible to the conference venues. I’ve also included mention of shops for those with dietary restrictions (unfortunately, less accessible from the conference locations) so be sure to keep reading if you’re looking for vegan or gluten-free donut options.


Let’s get Voodoo Doughnuts out of the way. Voodoo Doughnuts is for tourists, and it serves its role well. On my very first trip to Portland for ACRL, I did my due diligence and stood in line (fortunately, not for very long) to glimpse the weird and wonderful concoctions with creative names. You will most likely stand in line, especially outside the downtown location, which is walking distance from the conference. Voodoo Doughnuts is known for its weird toppings (Captain Crunch on your doughnut, anyone?) and weird shapes (yes, that is exactly what you think it is). However, you quickly discover that the base doughnut under the quirky gimmicks is average. You can also purchase plain, tame doughnuts here if all of the wacky toppings and shapes are ultimately unappealing once you reach the counter. Voodoo Doughnuts is an experience, and it’s worth a visit, especially with a friend.


For those more interested in the gourmet doughnuts of Portland, there are other options. You will probably still have to stand in line unless you get there very early in the morning on a weekend. Blue Star Donuts is walkable from the downtown conference hotel (you do have to walk uphill on the way there) but might require use of public transit for those with weary feet. Blue Star is known for donuts like Blueberry Bourbon Basil and Buttermilk Lemon Poppyseed. These are decadent and well worth the wait in line. They serve Coava Coffee to accompany their rich donuts.


Another local favorite is Coco Donuts, which walks the line between classic and gourmet quite nicely. They also roast their own coffee and make craft coffee beverages to accompany their classic donut selection. The best part is that Coco Donuts is within a block of the downtown Hilton. For those of you staying across the river, it’s still a reasonable walk or there’s always the MAX light rail.


For those wanting to indulge in small, fancy donuts and Portland food cart culture, there’s also Donut Byte Labs. This cool blue food cart specializes in bite-size donuts in three tiers of flavors: simple, mid-tier, and advanced. Simple and mid-tier more closely resemble classic donuts while the advanced have the gourmet quality of Blue Star but often paired with pastry cream and other complementary toppings. Donut Byte Labs resides on a corner not far from Voodoo Doughnuts and is within walking distance of the conference venues.


Vegans, don’t despair! Portland recently gained a dedicated vegan donut shop called Doe Donuts. They specialize in artisanal vegan donuts, but the downside is that you’ll need either a car or to take the bus to reach it.


For something closer to the conference venues for both vegans and those on gluten-free diets, there’s Gluten Free Gem, which doesn’t specialize in donuts but does carry them among its other pastries.




Coffee Shops near the Convention Center

Contributor: Jenny Mundy is the Records Officer and Electronic Records Management Analyst for Multnomah County, in addition to being an avid gardener, vegan powerlifter, and cat fancier. Ask her for a long explanation of why americanos are way better than drip coffee.

Photo by mononymous.

Cup & Bar

118 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

  • Featuring Trailhead Coffee Roasters and Ranger Chocolate Company, combining the two for notable drinks. I’ve heard many praises of their pastries.



1205 SE Stark Ave

  • Serving Water Avenue coffee. All vegan bakery with filling sandwiches and gluten free options.


Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

707 SE 12th Ave

  • One of the oldest coffeehouses in Portland. Notable for delicious desserts and a fun atmosphere. Heads up: they’re cash only.  


Mudd Works Roastery’s Half Pint Cafe

537 SE Ash St Suite 108

  • This tiny shop is built on a converted 1902 freight elevator. Accurately captures the innovative, industrial aesthetic popular in Portland coffee shops.  


Ristretto Roasters

555 NE Couch Street

  • Outstanding coffee, just a short walk from the Convention Center. Buy a bag of beans to take home with you.


Pine State

125 NE Schuyler St.

  • Serves the iconic brunch coffee, Stumptown Roasters, alongside their Southern-inspired biscuit sandwiches. Their location on NE Schuyler is a short bus ride from the Convention Center and will keep your stomach from grumbling through sessions!


Farther Afield but Worth the Trip

Photo by adactio.

Tov Coffee

SE 32nd and Hawthorne Blvd

  • Egyptian coffee served in a double decker bus.



1300 SE Grand Ave


The Tao of Tea

3430 SE Belmont

  • Prefer tea over coffee? Take a ride down to their original location on Belmont to explore their expansive collection of fancy teas. They have a second location at the Lan Su Chinese Gardens, which is an experience all of its own.


Townshend Tea House

2223 NE Alberta

3917 NE Mississippi

  • Another well known tea shop in Portland with great variety of teas and comfortable seating for reading and chatting. Their kombucha is available all around town and is highly recommended.


Third Wave Coffee Tours


Coming in early or sticking around after the conference? Coffee lovers might be interested in joining in on a more comprehensive tour.

Photo by Bex Walton.

On the east side of the Willamette River, nestled among converted warehouses and quirky neighborhoods, you’ll find the pioneering micro-roasters that sparked the third wave coffee revolution. This three-hour walking tour introduces you to award-winning baristas crafting some of the world’s finest coffee drinks. Taste top-notch espresso, cold brew variations and as an added bonus, one of the country’s finest and most innovative teamakers. We’ll stroll 1.5 miles on foot around one of Portland’s hippest emerging quadrants.

Fridays @ 10:00 AM, $40
Meet at Portland Roasting, 340 SE 7th Ave
Plan on about 3.0 hours


A rich variety of renowned cafes and pioneering micro-roasters can be found in each of Portland’s diverse neighborhoods, but there’s no better way to explore the delicious coffee scene than by jumping on the streetcar. On this three-hour walking tour, you’ll sip your way through Portland’s coffee scene in Downtown, the Pearl District and the Central Eastside. You’ll visit five micro-roasters and cafes, experiencing a brew methods demonstration, tasting the city’s finest espresso and finishing with a cupping, the industry standard for coffee tasting. There’s no better way to experience the diversity of Portland’s café culture.

Sundays @ 10:00 AM, $40
Meet at Cup & Bar, 118 NE MLK Jr Blvd
Plan on about 3.0 hours
Note: The tour’s ending point is approximately 1.25 miles from start – use of Streetcar, Taxi or Uber is encouraged.