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Hankering for a deep fried Oreo? Here's where to get fair food every day in Yreka

Jessica Skropanic
Siskiyou Daily News
Stacy and Silas Doane of Yreka (back) serve up a coffee beverage to their friend, magician Frank Thurston. The couple opened their mobile café Pony Espresso in Yreka in September 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled their traveling business plans.

A Siskiyou couple opened their mobile café in Yreka after the COVID-19 shutdown closed their traveling business.

It's a surreal experience being home after almost a decade on the road, serving coffee and snacks at fairs, festivals and other events; but they're glad to see more of their family.

Stacy and Silas Doane set up Pony Espresso in September in the Grocery Outlet parking lot.

“This is our first time working from home in nine years,” said Stacy Doane, 50. 

Pony Espresso’s most popular food items are the same in Yreka as they are at events, she said: Deep-fried Oreos (three for $3, six for $5) and deep-fried cheesecake ($5). Best-selling drinks are bubble tea ($5.25 to $5.50) and frozen hot chocolate ($5.75 to $6.50).

Stacy and Silas Doane of Yreka. The couple opened their mobile café Pony Espresso in September 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled their traveling business plans.

Silas Doane, 57, came up with the frozen hot chocolate recipe: Two types of chocolate blended with milk and ice. “His brain does not shut off,” Stacy Doane said. “He’s always coming up with something.”

The Doanes do all their own setup and tear down, and make all the food and drinks themselves.

That means she gets to work with her best friend, her husband of 19 years, Stacy Doane said.

Until last spring, the couple were on the road most of the time, setting up their café at more than 100 events each year in California, Oregon and Arizona. They stayed two days to a month at each venue, sleeping in their motorhome.

Then in March, gatherings were canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic gained strength in the United States.

“(2020) was the first year I bought a big five-year calendar to schedule all our shows,” Doane said.

It’s a surreal experience being at home after so many years, but it’s a blessing, said Doane, who gets to see more of her Yreka family. The couple have five children and 13 grandchildren, most of whom live in Northern California and Oregon.

The couple bought their first of four concessions trailers in August 2012: The former Siskiyou Mud café. They changed the name and hit the road.

Fair attendees line up at Pony Espresso. Silas and Stacy Doane of Yreka opened the trailer café in the Yreka Grocery Outlet parking lot after the shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the concession owners' event schedule. (January 2021).

“(We) didn’t realize how important it would become in our life,” Doane said. “We were just going to sit on the road, sell a little bit here and there.”

Within months, they had booked spots at about 40 fairs and 60 livestock shows and festivals.

“It’s a blast! It’s never the same day twice,” Doane said. “You meet different people, and different things happen every day.”

Other concession owners are equally passionate, she said. “We’re part of an industry that comes into a city, and builds a community in less than 48 hours. We have friends who became family.”

There are drawbacks. They get about five hours of sleep at night while at events, Doane said.

There have also been a few glitches, like the time the blender came loose from the machine. She was drenched, she said laughing, and frozen mocha rained down on her from the ceiling. She had to work sticky for the rest of the day.

In 2019, Silas, a former handyman, and Stacy — a furniture builder in her youth — converted another used trailer into their latest portable café. That's the one that opened next to the Yreka Grocery Outlet.

“Luckily, Siskiyou County welcomed us,” said Doane, who has a local following on Facebook. “Customers know us from the Siskiyou County Fair.”

She said she isn’t sure they will hit the road again after the pandemic. “I love being back in Siskiyou County. If we never go back I think I would miss it dreadfully, but I'll be content with Silas, doing what we love.”

The café’s menu includes soy and almond milk alternatives. All of the beverages are served hot, iced or blended, and can be ordered dirty (with espresso). Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays for drive through and walk up. 

They always wear their masks, Doane said.

For more information go to Pony Expresso at 121 Montague Road in Yreka or call 530-598-9938.

Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.