Location: N Mississippi and Skidmore, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11-5; Thurs-Sat, 11-5 and 8pm-2am; Sun, 11-5
The Story: “I am an FBI Agent!” One of the best lines from Point Break. Also, the first thought I had when seeing the menu at 503 Burger Co, a new food cart at Mississippi Marketplace.
A few years back, North Portland was blessed with some great burgers out of food carts at Mississippi Marketplace. Hand crafted with love. 503 Burger Co. has brought back the thunder and I thank them. The 503 opened quietly in July. I happened across them on a jaunt through to see who’s new. (You may remember a few vendors closed at the Marketplace, providing new opportunities for others.) A cool cabin like cart serving burgers and tots. What’s not to love? The menu at 503 harkens back to the age of my youth with burgers named Thunderdome or Road House and even Maverick. On my first visit, I picked up the Johnny Utah with Tillamook cheddar, bibb lettuce, pickled onion, tomato, ketchup, and a smokey chipotle aioli served on a brioche bun. Clean, straightforward, uncomplicated. Divine! Second visit – Back to the Future – a simple burger with cheddar and all the fixin’s. Both burgers sated my cravings and have brought me back. Portland is in a giant burger phase where everything but the kitchen sink is added to the patty. While flavorful, they are just over the top. At 503 Burger Co, the burger was untroublesome, flavorful, a bit messy, without adding pork belly or pickled eggplant. They realize you don’t need all that schtuff to make a great burger. Add tots or maybe event a shake, 503 Burger Co. has it all.
I’m excited to welcome a great burger vendor to Mississippi. If you’re a burger fan, it is in your interest to visit and check out 503 Burger Co. Heck, go twice. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Back to the Future – ketchup, mustard, Tillamook Cheddar, bibb lettuce, pickles, brioche bun – $8
- Road House – pepperoncini cream cheese sauce, fried leeks, butter lettuce, tomato, brioche bun – $8.50
- Thunderdome – beef and pork patty, bacon, Gorgonzola, arugula, BBQ sauce, brioche bun – $9.50
- Maverick – Munster, arugula, caramelized onion, truffle aioli, brioche bun – $9.75
- Tots – $2.50
Location: SE MLK and Stark, Central Eastside Food Cart Lot
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:30am-7:30pm; Saturday, noon-5
The Story: Portland has a number of Indian food carts – Taste of India, Real Taste of India, Indian Taste, Best Taste of India, yet when someone new comes along, with a catchy new name, they make the news. The 9, which serves a mix of Indian and Southeast Asian, has been making the rounds of everyone’s top food cart, so I decided to check it out.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Singapore. The farthest west (or east depending on how you perceive it) from home I’ve reached. Singapore boasts an culturally diverse food scene, which includes a large population of Indians. In Little India, I discovered cuisines, flavors and aromas I hadn’t seen before. Sitting at a Hawker market (their version of street food centers,) I spotted a young man devouring a pile of rice with chicken and veggies served atop a banana leaf with his hands. Biriyani. It became a go to dish for me when wandering the city. Fast forward to July in Portland and I’ve tried some of the biriyani offered at the carts, yet none have impressed me as what The 9 offered. The owners describe the cart as a mix of Indian and Asian, which bodes well for my first visit. The chicken biryani, a bed of moist stir fried rice topped with succulent chicken and fried scallions. On the side, a sweet chicken stock influenced by Thai and Burmese flavors. While offered a fork, I old-schooled it and ate freestyle, tearing off bits of chicken between my fingers and mixing them with the rice and filling my mouth. Simply the best. The broth. What can I say about the broth? I wish I could eat that every day – an elixir of spices and herbs. This is the biryani you’ve been waiting for in Portland.
The 9 is a gem. The Oregonian put them on their top 10 list for 2015 and I can’t agree more. Matthew Korfhage of the Willamette Week, one of my new favorite food writers in the city, jumped for joy after taking his first bite. I’m so glad to see them getting the press. As Matthew stated, go to this cart and spend money. Keep them here! Drop on by next time you’re in SE Portland and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Chicken Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
- Vegetable Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
- Roti and Curry – 2 pieces of wheat flour pan-fried bread with house made curry and choice of chicken or tofu – $7
- Plain Roti – $1.50
Facebook: The 9
Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Daily, lunch
The Story: Portland loves their kebab. Visit downtown any given night and numerous vendors are slinging pita filled with sliced meats, veggies and sauces and eaters are eager to indulge. Kelvin’s Döner Kebab is a new food cart featuring the traditional Turkish delight.
Döner is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie made from lamb with a mix of veal, beef or chicken. The purveyor slices off thin bits and fills a pita. At Kelvin’s Döner Kebab, the traditional sandwich is complimented by wraps, salads and even döner atop fries with cheese crumbles. The Döner Kebab I enjoyed started with fresh pita, a fistful of döner, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and then the sauces. Hot sauce, tzatziki sauce, yogurt sauce. I love big sandwiches and Kelvin’s didn’t disappoint. More than a few people on the sidewalk stopped me in astonishment asking where I secured such a huge amount of food. The döner, succulent and salty, mixed with the veggies and sauce melded together perfectly within the fresh pita. One of the best pitas I’ve enjoyed too. Love local sourcing.
Kelvin’s Döner Kebab is open daily for lunch and into the afternoon hours or until they sell out. Next time you’re up for something new, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Döner Kebab – $6.50
- Durum – a Döner wrap – $6.50
- Döner Box – Döner over fries – $7
- Döner Plate – with fries and salad – $10
- Döner Salad – $6-8
Phone: 971 563 2511
An early morning fire has destroyed or damaged five food carts at the popular PSU food cart pod on SW 4th and Hall. The Oregonian reports that a fire was reported around 4:30am, Tuesday morning and Portland Fire was quick to respond. Yet, as the cleanup began, it was discovered that three carts are a complete loss and two others are damaged.
- Phat Cart – damaged
- Krua Bangkok – destroyed
- Rice and Noodle – destroyed
- Comfortably Yum – destroyed
- The Fusion Box – damaged
The street is currently closed as of Tuesday morning while they mop up and allow for the propane tanks to vent. A sad day for the cart owners. We’ll keep you posted on new developments as they arise. Oregonlive’s coverage.
Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne at Cartopia
Hours: Wed-Sun, 11:30am-12am
The Story: Cartopia continues to excite the food cart scene of Portland. Defined as Portland’s late night food cart pod, after a remodel this past winter, it may now be one of the city’s most welcoming pods with a large tent and a new vendor. Chicken and Guns opened in June featuring their signature roasted Latin chicken.
Dustin Knox is a name one would know if you’ve been eating at the carts for more than a few years. The founder and owner of Perierra Creperie at Cartopia, Dustin has also made inroads with a couple of brick and mortar locations in the past few years. Yet, the siren song of the food cart called him back and with his parter Todd Radcliffe, they designed and built the beautiful cart that houses Chicken and Guns. This isn’t you’re friend’s grilled chicken. Todd and Dustin wanted to shoot for the stars, so partnered with Canby’s Scratch Farm for naturally raised chicken. Further, Todd designed the racks and grill to roast the chicken just right. Then, they added salad. Who doesn’t enjoy a simple fresh salad with meal? A trifecta of awesomeness.
Chicken and Guns focuses on Latin chicken roasted over oak and mesquite. What makes it latin chicken? Well, a mixture of seasoning and chimichurri that adds a depth of flavor complimented by wood smoke. Portion sizes can be a quarter or half a chicken. If you’re an eater, go for the half, you’ll thank me. Sides include crispy potatoes with lemon and sea salt and a Peruvian sauce or a salad of seasonally selected greens and mandolin sliced veggies. You can add a fried egg to any meal and why wouldn’t you. Succulent, sweet, juicy. Messy, exiting, a moment of clarity. Seriously, some of the best chicken I’ve enjoyed in a long time.
Chicken and Guns nails it. The cart, with an eating bar crafted from a huge chunk of oak, was put together with reclaimed materials, giving it a weathered and authentic feel. Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner and even later, you have no reason not to visit. Drop on by next time you’re in the neighborhood and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Latin Chicken – 1/4 – $8; 1/2 – $14 – includes choice of sides – potatoes or salad
Add local farm egg for $2
When we first announced the new food cart pod on South Waterfront, some asked what a gantry was. Well, without going into a textbook definition, just take a gander at the gantry there supervising the trucks below.
The Gantry food cart pod soft opened on July 15 with Hot Box BBQ, Ash Wood Fired and Garden Monsters serving up lunch. Neue Southern is on site and will open soon. A produce market and Namu will join the vendors in the coming weeks. Across the street, Scout Beer Garden will soon open to enjoy a cold snack with your nosh. With the food cart pod, South Waterfront has officially joined the fold. Welcome.
The Gantry is at 3200 SW Moody, right at the entrance of South Waterfront at the base of the OHSU tram.
The Portland Food Cart Festival takes over the Rose Quarter this Saturday, July 18. In the common area in front of the Memorial Coliseum, food carts and trucks from around the city will come together to sell their wares. The festival is a fundraiser for ALSO, which promotes the full inclusion of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the life of their community. In its 3rd year, the festival moves from Gresham to Portland and the organizers, enterprising food cart owners, have put together an amazing line up:
Kingsland Kitchen Moberi
Ole Coffee PDX Sliders
RivPDX Sweet Annie’s
Taqueria La Merced Gimme Some Sugar Concessions
BBQ Fusion Beez Neez Gourmet Sausages
Churros Locos El Taco Yucateco
Koi Fusion Phat Cart
Ramy’s Lamb Shack Top O Hill Restaurant (Top on the Run)
I visit street food festivals around the nation and world and do my best to try each vendor. Saturday will be one gluttonous day.
The Portland Food Cart Festival goes from 2-10pm on Saturday and their asking for a suggested donation of $5. VIP packages are still available for $50, which gets you in 2 hours early. Live music, a beer garden, activities for the kids and street food – what more could you ask for. Thank you to the generous sponsors for making this event a success – Weston Kia, KG Specialties and Skyland Pub.
More details about the event can be found at PortlandFoodCartFestival.org.
Location: SE 52nd and Foster at Carts on Foster
Hours: daily and on weekends for lunch and dinner
The Story: Chicken wings are as American as apple pie. One day, I’ll make the road trip back east to thank the owners of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo for the many years of enjoyment. Operation Wings, a food cart at Carts on Foster, is one of the few vendors in town who specialize in the tasty and messy treat.
Operation Wings does wings. Simple as that. Focus on what you do well and grow a loyal following. The cart opened to honor Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Lucas, a Navy Seal, who was killed in action during Operation Red Wings in 2005. What better way to honor a friend and patriot than with great food that excites the tastebuds of everyone who enjoys them. Just reading through the Yelp! reviews, you realizes they are crushing it with their fans. So many different flavors, it was difficult to choose – Mango Habanero; Teriyaki, Jamaican Jerk; Booming BBQ; Zesty Pineapple Hawaiian; Traditional Frank’s Red Hot; Maple Bacon. WOW! Being a bit of purist, I grabbed a plate of Frank’s Red Hot and some tots. With a beer from the Pod Bar, I dove in. Crispy, spicy, messy, fresh. Those were the words that popped into my head at every bite. I’m no professional wing eater. Usually, I imbibe only on Super Bowl Sunday, but Operation Wings was calling my name and I’m glad I stopped by. These are the real deal. Next up for me, Honey Bourbon.
Operation Wings nailed it. With an extensive menu of wing flavors along with pork options, tater tots and waffle bites, there’s something for everyone. Next time you’re down of Foster, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu: (full menu on website)
Wing baskets are $6 for small and $11 for large.