Potato Champion


Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne

Description: Ahh, 2am and you’ve had a couple of beers. Now what? You could stop on by any one of the late night 24hr fast food joints for “4th meal” and pay for it in the morning, or you could head on down to SE 12th and Hawthorne and get some Frites. Yep, I’m calling them Frites instead of fries because they are that good.

Potato Champion is Portland’s only late night fry cart and from my experience, the only cart in town specializing in Belgian style frites. Belgian style frites are potatoes that are peeled, cut, washed and then blanched with a first fry before frying them again. This makes them crispy on the outside while staying fluffy on the inside. I don’t know about all that techno mumbo jumbo, I just know that they are just what the doctor ordered after a few beers at the local microbrew.

When I visited, it was pretty quiet on the corner, so I walked right up. The owners are very friendly and kind as I assume they get a few of their share of drunkards rolling by. I ordered a large cone with the Rosemary Truffle ketchup. Plenty for one person and I barely got to the ketchup as I was devouring the hot yummy fries without really thinking to pair them with anything. Next time I will try the tarragon anchovy mayo or maybe Poutine.

Yep, they have traditional Poutine, and even a vegan version. Cuisine Bonne Femme loves Poutine so much she writes,

Ah, how can I explain my love of Poutine? It’s simply trashy, French Canadian comfort food. Je t’aime la Poutine! See, Poutine is considered the national dish of Quebec, Canada. Much to the chagrin of the “real French” who consider the French Canadians a bunch of backwoods redneck idiots when it comes to cuisine. Sacre Bleu! Still, I dare you to not love anything with crispy fries covered in a rich brown chicken gravy and cheese curds, especially after a night of imbibing. I fell in love with Poutine while an exchange student in Quebec one summer, and I still crave it. It’s nice to see a place in Portland serving it.

Sample Menu:
Small cone: $3.50
Large cone: $4.50
Choice of sauces: Horseradish Ketchup; Rosemary Truffle Ketchup; Mayonnaise; Pesto Mayo; Tarragon Anchovy Mayo; Remoulade; Dijon Mustard; “Harder” Hot Mustard, etc.

Poutine: Small: $4; Large: $5 (Vegan and Vegetarian available)

Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 8pm – 3am; closed Sunday-Tuesday

Phone: Unknown

Email: Unknown




  1. Glad to see one of my favorite carts here, definitely try the anchovy mayo! the salty fish flavor + (wonderfully) greasy fries is a magical combo.

  2. Jeremy from Yarp?! says:

    The Frites are as close to a spiritual catharsis I’ve had in awhile, but that could be saying more about me than the spuds. However, having watched Mike and his potato mill pump out thousands of pounds of fries, he’s definitely doing something right…

    The stumps are kewl too….

  3. Had the poutine a while ago. Divine. In a really artery-clogging sort of way. Plus, it is the food of my people, those suspicious French Canadians.

  4. Great frites and poutin! We also had the remoulade, which is just terrific. I wish they were open all day (though my arteries are grateful they are only open late). Rumor has it they are looking for a store with a heavy emphasis on all things Belgium (frites, waffles, beer…)

    So good.

  5. The Poutine is wonderful, and I like the Low Countries so it’s great to have someone kicking it frite style in Portland. Nice people, too.

  6. its disgusting the way they just pile the pre cooked fries against the wall not very sanitary

  7. I’m certain they clean those first-cooked fries – at 300 degrees, in oil.

  8. POUTINE, baby!! I didn’t ‘get’ what the cheese curds were trying to add to the deal, so will skip them next time, but the fries were great and the gravy on top was perfection. YUM!

  9. When friends asked if I wanted to go get fried pies at Whiffies, I was all for it. I was immediately sidetracked upon walking into the cart area by the Poutine sign. I was not at all disappointed, and have told every Canadian ex-pat I know about this place!

    (I also caved in and went to Whiffies too! Poutine and a BBQ meat pie: Heaven!)

  10. I have ordered the poutine twice now as originally from Canada. The cheese curds are supposed to be slightly melted but have been cold on both occasions. The fries and gravy aare good though!

  11. Dinner was obtained at the Hawthorne pod this weekend. I’ve been to this pod before to try Whiffies, which I liked. For dinner I chose Perierra Creperie, but with my family along for this visit, they looked around to pick and choose. My sister decided on Potato Champion and tried her first poutine. All of us tried one another’s food, so I also got to try the poutine.

    Let me say first that my sister has loved French fries and gravy for as long as I can remember. On Oahu, there’s a restaurant out in the country called Makaha Drive-In, and it’s generally the spot where residents and surfers will come in for decent comfort food. Their gravy & fries are winner.

    Verdict on Potato Champion’s poutine: awesome. I’ll also say that while most people who order it will eat it on the spot, the quality of the poutine reheated after being in a fridge overnight is good too. Now trying doing that with lower quality fries from the golden arches or any fast food place. Not going to happen.

    On a last note: my nephew was the one who ordered the poutine from Potato Champion, and apparently when the lady asked what his name was so that he could be called to pick up his order, he said “I am Antoine”. He was joking, but I’m sure he isn’t the only one who comes up with fake names at food carts. Maybe next time, I’ll be Bumpy.

  12. Foodcartmasteroftheworld says:

    The best food cart I have been too by far ! Buttermilk Ranch and Harder Hot Mustard are best ! I’m also partial on the rosemary truffle ketchup, and poutine is great !


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