Blue Star Donuts (Downtown) | Portland, OR

December 20, 2018

Blue Star Donuts | Facebook | T: @bluestardonuts | IG: @bluestardonuts
1155 SW Morrison St. #102 (
map it!)
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 265-8410

Open daily 7a-8p (or until they sell out)

Visited: Monday, November 12, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.

It’s been several years since we visited Portland, and during that visit we trekked to the original Voodoo Doughnuts store, a graffiti-carved hole in the wall that was one of the first places nationwide to start throwing cereal and pretzels and candies and (wait for it) bacon onto donuts. Nowadays we’re used to seeing donuts piled high with toppings, which in one regard is fun, but in another regard, is like a brewer over-hopping a subpar beer. The fun and frills and big flavor can be used to hide flaws in the base product.

Not to say Voodoo does this, but there’s always that danger, and many imitators have fallen prey to it. So, just like my beer tastes turning back to clean lagers and well-constructed pale ales, I find a growing appreciation for no-frills donuts.

But where does Blue Star Donuts, the already-rising star of donuts around Portland, fall in this spectrum? Safely in the middle. Fun donuts that are still well constructed.

Blue Star didn’t exist when we last visited Portland in 2010, so in the intervening years I’ve heard tales from trusted friends of their value.

Our first day visiting Portland in November, we planned out a stop to the downtown Blue Star, one which recently moved to newer, cleaner, brighter digs. The donut shop is easily seen from the streets, with tall windows giving you a full view of the cafe.

At our arrival, a steady line of customers gathered along the counter. We spied out selections ahead of time by looking at the trays behind the glass, and when an employee was free, we rattled off a list of a dozen donuts.

Although some of Blue Star’s offerings veer toward gimmicky (a pipette with cointreau to inject the donut?), there’s a simplicity to them that I love. And, dang, if they aren’t gorgeous. Simple glazed yeast-raised donuts, cinnamon sugar cake donuts, a bruleed and cream-filled delicacy, chocolate-iced donuts with a conservative sprinkling of candies or crushed almonds.

I can’t even remember everything we tried, but there wasn’t a bad bite in the bunch.

My personal favorite was this bad boy: a chunky, thick-glazed hard apple fritter. Just the right texture, sweet but not too sweet, with a dash of spice.

We’ll see where Blue Star Donuts takes it from here, but so far they’re producing some real winners. I appreciate most of all how they’re focusing on mastering the classics before they get all fun and funky.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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