We’ve been hearing scuttlebutt about a new food cart pod down at South Waterfront at the base of the tram. I’ve spoken with a few vendors who are moving there, but the plans weren’t final. Today, Garden Monsters announced they would be closing their cart on NE Alberta in order to move to The Gantry at Zidell Yards. The pod’s name is official. A quick search and they have a Twitter account – @TheGantryZidell. Other vendors who have announced they are moving include Neue Southern, Ash Wood Fired and Scout Beer Garden. The pod will be situated just north of the base of the tram in front of Zidell marine. I can’t wait to hang out under the Ross Island bridge watching the hustle and bustle of trams and MAX and hearing the sounds of ship building a few feet away. According to reports, they are looking at a mid-July open. We’ll keep you posted.
The West Side has a food cart pod. You’re surprised as I am, I know. Some elected officials in municipalities west of Portland don’t necessarily care for food carts or trucks, but it appears Aloha is not one of them. The Eating Place at Aloha Mall came together over the past month and features seven vendors and covered seating. Aloha Mall is located at the corner of SW 185th and TV Highway. The food cart lot takes over a portion of the underutilized parking space behind the mall.
The Eating Place at Aloha Mall features the following vendors:
- Batter Up Waffles – waffle sandwiches
- Mexico Lindo
- Frosty Ribbons – Hawaiian Shave Ice
- Yummy Bubble Tea
- Diva Dogs
- Master Taco
There are a few covered seating areas to get out of the sun and the lot is celebrating their grand opening the weekend of June 27-28. The vendors will offer free samples and giveaways along with activities and even super heroes. More details on the Grand Opening.
Congratulation Aloha for embracing food cart pods. If you live or work out that way, drop on by and see what they’ve created.
The Eating Place at Aloha Mall
Facebook – The Eating Place
18631 TV HWY, Behind Little Caesars
Location: NW 19th and Quimby at Q19
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm
The Story: Put together a thoughful, yet simple menu of both hot and cold sandwiches and you have Oregon Made Grub, a new addition to the Q19 food cart lot in Slabtown.
Oregon Made Grub launched earlier this year in another great creation by PDX Cart Builders. The cedar paneled carts are becoming de rigeur for new vendors who want something classy and unique. Since Oregon Made Grub works to keep it local, presenting their fare from what could be seen as modern log cabin nails it. I met owner Kyrsten Schenck back in November when she participated in one of our food cart tours. I immediately realized she was interested in learning as much as she could about the scene and lo and behold, a few months later, she launched her cart. Oregon Made Grub focuses on sandwiches and soups. Sourcing as many ingredients as possible locally, Kyrsten creates amazing creations in the little box that is the food cart. Hot sammis include roast beef, pork tenderloin and my favorite, the tuna melt. Cold sammis include bacon and brie, an herbed cream cheese wrap with shredded carrot and oven roasted tomatoes or a chicken and kale caesar wrap. The tuna melt on toasted Dave’s Killer Break, my favorite sandwich by far, crushed me. A bit of melted cheese oozed out to crisp up from the grill. The tuna was fresh and creamy. Dave’s batch that day was top notch. A wonderful meal.
Oregon Made Grub is now open for lunch weekdays at Q19 on NW 19th and Quimby. The lot offers seating along with the options of heading indoors to Quimby’s for a pint. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu: [Menu on website]
- Pork tenderloin with garlic sage aioli and greens on ciabatta $9
- Roast Beef with sharp white cheddar, caramelized onions, horseradish on a rosemary bun – $9
- Tuna Melt – $8
- Bacon& Brie with sliced apple and greens on focaccia – $9
- Herbed Cream Cheese Wrap – $7
- Chicken and kale caesar wrap – $8
Location: SW 4th and Burnside
Hours: Thursday, 8am-1pm; Friday, 8am-1am; Saturday, 10am-1am; Sunday, 11am-6pm
The Story: Portland loves donuts right? Voodoo. Blue Star. Pips. To name a few. A food cart has decided to enter the fray – Donut Byte Labs is now open at the corner of SW 4th and Burnside for your mini donut cravings.
Donut Byte Labs opened earlier this year with one seriously outfitted food cart. Each donut is fresh daily right in the cart with their donut robot. And, you can watch. When was the last time you were able to watch your food created right on the spot? They choose to go for cold mini bytes instead of hot (like other vendors) in order to showcase the flavor. The menu covers everything from basic glazed and powered sugar to advanced flavors like salted caramel or bacon maple. The Burnside cream is a twist on the Boston Cream with a mini donut dipped in warm chocolate glaze then dolloped with pastry cream and a drizzle of Ghiradelli chocolate sauce. Being so little, you can enjoy more than one. One late night during a set break at Dante’s, I wandered over for an assortment. While eating donuts in Portland at midnight isn’t that unusual, for me it was and I devoured them.
Donut Byte Labs is one of only a few sweets vendors in the downtown core. Centrally located, next time you want to surprise the boss or get a treat for the team, drop on by. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu: (Full menu on website)
- Plain – $1.25 for 6 or $2.50 for 12
- Powdered Sugar – $2.50 for 6 or $4 for 12
- Chocolate Sprinkle – $1 for 1 or $2.50 for 3
- Salted Caramel – or Burnside Cream – $1 for 1 or $2.50 for 3
- Creme Brulee – $1 for 1 or $2.50 for 3
Remember PARKing day? When groups of people would gather early in the morning and stake out parking spots throughout cities and turn them into makeshift parks for the day? Such a cool concept. Yet, these days, in Portland, you find the parking areas throughout the city re-purposed for bike racks or restaurant seating. PSU, though, went all out and created a parklet at the food cart pod on SW 4th between Hall and College. Now you can sit and enjoy your Khao Man Gai while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city.
The area around the PSU Pod is ever changing with a mix of residential, city services and office space. The pod attracts both students, contractors who are awaiting permitting meetings across the street and office workers from neighboring businesses. Any given day, the sidewalk in front of the carts is crowded with eager and hungry eaters, yet historically, there wasn’t anywhere to sit. The parklet came about from a partnership between the SoMa (South of Market) EcoDistrict, Portland State University’s School of Architecture, Sustainability Neighborhoods Initiative and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. Other partners included Oregon Pacific Investment and Development, CH2M/Hill, Sustainable Northwest Wood and Green Hammer. The community was also integral in making this happen, helping the group raise $15,000 to pay for materials and other expenses.
The parklet was born out of a design studio course in the School of Architecture in fall 2013, taught by Assistant Professor B.d. Wortham-Galvin. A team of students and partners then presented their design to the city and the project moved forward with completion in spring of 2015. While many will bemoan the loss of a few parking spaces, I find these parklets to be welcoming and a fresh approach to streetscaping.
The SoMa Parklet took over parking at the corner of SW 4th and College right in front of the food carts. Benches and varied height tables offer a respite from the concrete curb often used by eaters. So cool. Now we just need a few at 10th and Alder.
Congrats to the SoMa Ecodistrict and the students and faculty at Portland State University for bringing this to fruition.
More details about the parklet can be found here.
Portland is seeing a growth in food cart pods along with some remodeling of old ones. Here’s the latest:
Los Gorditos now calls The Wet Hen Carwash home after they left their long time spot on 50th and Division. The new lot, on SE 50th, just north of Powell blvd, is The Wet Hen Car Wash which has been converted to a welcoming food cart lot. Planters, picnic tables, umbrellas and a couple of carts create a welcoming scene. Los Gorditos is by far the draw here, being one of Portland’s favorites for so many years. The second cart is Beer Box, which has applied for a beer/wine license, so should be open soon. With Carts on Foster just down the street, the corner may become food cart central for the Foster-Powell neighborhood. I love it that Los Gorditos had no qualms about opening right next to Taco Bell and Taco Time.
If you’re a late night food cart enthusiast, you know the best location for fries or a crepe after hours is Cartopia on SE 12th and Hawthorne. One of the first pods on the east side, it has been anchored for years by Potato Champion. I remember the days at 2am enjoying fries with poutine sitting on old stumps around a fire. A lot has changed since the last decade, including some amazing remodeling at the lot. Over winter, the lot went through some construction to bring in natural gas and underground electrical along with installing a new patio with a giant tent. The vendors then moved their carts to encircle the seating area. While not completely finished, the lot now has planters and is totally welcoming. Vendors include Potato Champion, Pyro Pizza, Tahrir Square, El Brasero, PBJ’s Grilled, Perierra Creperie and newbie Chicken and Guns. They do movie nights every Sunday night at dark all summer. Great work guys.
There are now almost 44 food cart lots throughout the city. And more coming soon. You can find an active map of the pods here.
Location: Cartlandia – SE 82nd and Harney
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 11-2pm; Fri-Sat, 11-9pm; Sunday – 3-9pm
The Story: Portland’s street food scene is lacking in the area of pasta. I get asked regularly why Italian cuisine isn’t well represented and I don’t really have an answer. Anything’s Pastable, a new food cart at Cartlandia, is here to fill that void.
Anything’s Pastable grew out of the long time dream for Laury and Ed to own their own place. After raising kids and Ed’s years as a chef and line cook, the business dream became a reality. Add a love of pasta and anything becomes pastable. The cart offers classic Italian sauces and pasta dishes, yet with a bit of the northwest thrown in. Mushroom Alfredo or Primavera with seasonal veggies are just a couple of options. Pomodoro with rotini pasta with sautéed onions, bell pepper and fire roasted tomato sauce looked intriguing. I opted to add sausage and Ed garnished the dish with a four cheese blend to give it creaminess. I call it spiral pasta, one of my favorites, due to fact that the sauce and cheese get into the curls. The smokiness of the fire roasted tomato sauce came through perfectly and the sausage was a great addtition. A great meal.
Anything’s Pastable is open at Cartlandia for lunch and dinner on the weekends. Check out their deep fried ravioli, something I only saw after I had ordered. Sounds crazy good. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Mushroom Alfredo – mixed mushrooms and Gemelli pasta tossed with a basil alfredo sauce – $10
- Pomodoro – $9
- Northwest PrimaVera – Cavatappi and seasonal vegetables in a white wine and butter sauce garnished with a four cheese blend – $8
- Twisted Curry – Gemelli, onions and pepper tossed with creamy curry sauce – $10
- Deep Fried Ravioli – fresh ravioli deep fried served on a bed of greens with a special dipping sauce.
- Add sausage, chicken or shrimp – $2.50-$3.50
Location: SE 72nd and Flavel
Hours: Weekdays, 10am-10pm; Weekends, 10am-2am
The Story: Got an email the other day about a new pod out in SE Portland. A few food carts had opened and the neighborhood has been showing them some love. Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers brings BBQ to the lot.
Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers is the second cart for owner Chio and his business partner Teddy. The first cart, Blazin’ Ribs and Teriyaki opened earlier this year in SE Portland out off 161st and Division. The new cart here on Flavel is focusing on BBQ and Burgers. Chio has been working on his BBQ craft since childhood. Growing up in NE Portland, every Sunday after church, a friend’s grandfather would host a cookout and Chio would sit there and ask questions and learn the tricks of the trade from the elder statesman on how to make the best smoked ribs. Teddy brings a bit of the south with him, having family in southern Arkansas. The team understands the value of fresh ingredients along with signature flavors.
The menu offers up teriyaki chicken, fish n’ chips, a whole array of burgers with any topping you can imagine along with BBQ ribs. I knew before even before I arrived ribs would be my meal, but was excited to see the vast array of burger options. I’ll need to return for one. After ordering, Chio set out to hand cut the fries. He learned it early on that was the best tasting fry. I wouldn’t disagree. The ribs were top notch. A little smoky, a hint of sweet from brown sugar and the meat came off the bone so easily. I didn’t ask for the secret recipe, but I think someone mentioned Dr. Pepper in passing. Pretty amazing stuff. And for $8, this plate of ribs, fries and garlic bread is a steal. They do half and full racks to go. And a testament to their craft, a visitor from California arrived while I was there, returning for a rack after having enjoyed the ribs the previous day.
Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers is just what that area needed. Coming up 72nd from Johnson Creek, I noticed a lack of eating options and Chio and Teddy confirmed they stay busy throughout the day and on weekends into the night. Location is key. If you’re down that way, drop on by for some ribs or a burger and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Ribs w/Fries and garlic bread – $8
- Teriyaki Chicken with rice and salad – $7.50
- Fish n Chips – $7
- Applewood BBQ Burger – $6.50
- Chili Cheese Burger – $6.50
- Blazin 1/2 lb double buffalo burger – $9.50
- Buffalo Style Boneless wings – $7.50
Facebook: Blazin’ Ribs