Nola Doughnuts
Nola Doughnuts

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Portland just got a new doughnut shop. Here’s the backstory.

In 2005, New Orleans resident Connie DeMerell moved to the metro area. In 2014, her brother, Rob Herkes, a veteran Crescent City bartender-turned-landscape architect, also relocated here to help DeMerell and her family after the death of her husband.

They never thought they’d be in the fried dough business, but things changed when DeMerell asked her brother to be her plus-one for an annual couples’ party. She asked him to bring his cream-filled vanilla doughnuts as a dish to pass. They were a hit—particularly with a man named Frank Halpin, who would later contract Herkes to make doughnuts that could entice customers at UU-Yogurt, his DIY frozen yogurt shop, during the winter months.

A few farmers markets later, the trio opened NOLA Doughnuts in Lake Oswego in October of 2015, and on St. Patrick’s Day of this year, they brought their fried dough game to the Pearl, setting up a second shop in the old Blitz bar space, where one can now enjoy made-to-order beignets, Cajun maple bacon donuts, and praline cookies.

NOLA Doughnuts’ new space seats about 50 and also offers doughnut-adjacent treats like ice cream sundaes, milkshakes, espresso drinks, and chicory cafe au laits.

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And the soundtrack is all-New Orleans all the time, from Louis Armstrong to Irma Thomas to the Rebirth Brass Band—and this Saturday, NOLA’s hosting the local outfit BrassRoots Movement, who’ll be on hand for a three-hour gig from 11 am to 2 pm.

NOLA Doughnuts: 110 NW 10th Ave., 503-895-6350; Hours: 7 a.m to 9 p.m., seven days a week