This fall and winter, Portland’s doughnut scene will be getting a lot chewier. Before Lisa Nguyen opens her glutinous rice flour doughnut cafe, Heyday, within the CORE food cart pod, another mochi doughnut shop will open in Northeast Portland, from another popular Portland pop-up.
Before the year ends, chef Alex McGillivray and his partner, Emily Mikiko Strocher, hope to open Mikiko Mochi Donuts, selling doughnuts in flavors like black sesame and Thai tea alongside doughnut-bun breakfast sandwiches and mochiko chicken with mochi waffles.
Mikiko started as a pop-up in the Portland WeWork space right before the pandemic hit Portland in 2020. McGillivray and Mikiko Strocher made mochi doughnuts inspired by her family’s traditional mochitsuki celebrations; however, the recipe was something closer to a butter mochi, a Hawaiian rice flour cake. Despite the limitations of the pandemic, Mikiko was a hit: The couple sold hundreds of doughnuts for pre-ordered pickup, landed in Portland restaurants for brunch service, and ended up on the shelves at New Seasons around the greater Portland area.
At the new shop, the couple, joined by Joel Magruder, will sell eight varieties of both filled and unfilled doughnuts: POG (passionfruit orange guava), black sesame, and Thai tea, as well as filled doughnuts like strawberry with matcha pudding or passionfruit curd. The shop will often swap out seasonal flavors and one-offs, and also use the “naked” doughnuts as the foundation for sous-vide egg breakfast sandwiches — country ham egg and cheese, a shiitake duxelles egg and cheese, and a nduja egg and cheese sandwich. McGillivray is also playing around with a chicken and waffle variation with mochiko chicken and mochi waffles, served with lapsang syrup and pickled stone fruit.
Mikiko Strocher, who works full-time as a teacher, has headed back to the classroom, but McGillivray and Magruder will be handling day-to-day at the new cafe. McGillivray, who has worked in kitchens for years, grew up 10 blocks from the new location with his mother, a former Oregon Culinary Institute instructor; his mother passed away earlier this month. “It’s all very bittersweet without my mom,” he says. “She’s... 100 percent the reason I do what I do and why we’re here today. She adored our quirky, charming little neighborhood, and there’s no place I would rather be.”
Mikiko will open at 2821 NE Everett Street, #111.