Mississippi Marketplace – Welcome!

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Over the weekend, we welcomed a new “pod” into the fold of Portland’s Food Cart scene.  Mississippi Marketplace, up off N. Mississippi at Skidmore did a soft opening on Saturday to show of their new cart lot and show the neighborhood what they plan to offer. I ventured down as it is down the street from my home and had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the owner and developer, Roger Goldingay. Such great people who in, in the face of an economic downturn, moved forward with a complete remodel of an old abandoned building and built a lot to support the carts. Well done sir.

Former church - built in 1894

Former church - built in 1894

And

Mississippi Marketplace 2009

Mississippi Marketplace 2009

Mississippi Marketplace has space for 10 sites. As of Saturday, there were already 7 carts landed, including Nuevo Mexico, The Ruby Dragon, Southwestern Pizza Company, Leroy’s BBQ, Vittles and Sushi Tree.  Yep, a mobile sushi cart. Pretty awesome huh? Not all the carts were open on Saturday as some were still working out details with plumbing or inspections. The carts that were open were busy, with a constant stream of neighbors coming to welcome them. In speaking with Roger, he stated that the carts will be open from morning to night since some offer breakfast, while others are more geared to the dinner crowd. The building they remodeled, a former church, will become a German bar named Prost! – slated to open in October. I see heaven in that mix. Food carts and beer? Hmm, honey, I won’t be home for dinner tonight…

The best part of this project for me as a resident of the neighborhood is how they took this abandoned dilapidated building and vacant lot and turned it into a viable business – geared toward entrepreneurs. All along N. Mississippi and other sections of North Portland, there are new storefronts or old buildings remodeled for businesses, but the rents are sometimes prohibitive to someone starting out. Taking the vacant land and quickly populating it with revenue generating businesses from the start is what we need both in this community and for the economy as a whole.

I’m excited for the next few weeks as every day we’ll see changes to the lot with the carts opening and fine tuning their offerings. Come on up to my neck of the woods and say hi to the newest crop of carts. Oh, and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Location: SW corner of N. Mississippi and Skidmore

Website: www.missmarketplace.com

Comments

  1. Just found your blog for the first time… I am amazed at the explosion of food carts in Portland over the last 5 years or so. At first it was just downtown and now it’s spreading like crazy!

    It’s gone from, “I’m tired of these restaurants around here where should I eat?” to, “I gotta go try that new cart!”

    I wish there were more crepe carts around here though, I got hooked by all the crepe shops and crepe carts in San Francisco the last few times I was there.

    P.S. Have you had a chance to check out Parker’s Waffles on SW 4th and College? I haven’t been able to make it over to that pod area for a while, but I’ve heard good things.

  2. I just bought a condo a few blocks from here and move in a couple weeks!! I can’t wait!! I haven’t checked out the Marketplace yet… but I have a feeling it will be a frequent place for me to pick up a quick bite to eat and hang out for a few!

  3. I was there on Saturday and didn’t see Nuevo Mexico…It was just before noon. Am I blind? :)

  4. Nuevo Mexico is there, the white cart on the end off Mississippi, but they weren’t able to open on Saturday. Watch for them to open soon.

  5. Mr.Nuevo Mexico says:

    Hello everybody,

    I just wanted to let everyone know that I will open up in about a weeks or so. I’m still waiting for the carts to go in next me so I can set my trailer down permanently (yet still mobile). I tried to open up on Saturday for free Samples but couldn’t work out all the bugs in my new trailer. It was very exciting to see so many people there on Saturday. Thanks everyone for supporting our new “pod”.

  6. I ate at two of the new carts on Sunday: Ruby Dragon and Sushi Tree. Both meals were great. I’m very excited to have great vegan/veggie options in the neighborhood. Hoping some of the carts stay open late on weeknights as well as weekends since cheap late night dining in the area is lacking. Permanent outdoor seating and lights would be nice too.

  7. NMis Neighbor says:

    I live near there, wish I would have known about the opening.

    I’m really wishing we could get an Indian food cart there. I go downtown now for that.

    There are already plenty of Mexican and barbecue places around close. Not sure that I would trust sushi from a cart.

    As for waffles, there is a great cart near Rebuilding Center at the other end of Mississipi. Also Moxie does buckwheat waffles when they’re open.

  8. Indian Food! Yes! Also, isn’t the Sugar Cube reopening here? Confused.

    Finally, congrats to all the cart owners. Y’all are my heroes.

  9. Sounds great. I love the “pod” phenomenon–strength in numbers, rather than cut-throat competition. And as you point out, it’s a fantastic adaptation towards reurbanising space that suffered the “urban renewal”-style destruction of the 60s-80s.

    One of the two drama-laden Indian carts at 12th & Yamhill really needs to move, either to Miss. or Alberta–surely in either location, with no Indian food anywhere near (and probably plenty of vegetarians) they’d make tons of money, or at least quit halving their potential intake with a competitor.

    My idea for the cart I’d open if I couldn’t get a job a couple years ago was a vegetarian “sushi burrito” cart–basically a cart that made only large-ish uncut rolls with two or three (seasonal?) ingredients to order with wasabi/ginger/tamari already inside, with maybe miso, udon, tea and simple desserts. Easy to eat on the go, minimal cooking equipment required, potentially pretty affordable food. So I’ll be curious to find out how Sushi Tree is approaching sushi-from-a-cart. . .

    Maybe not the place to ask–but does anyone know why there are no Chinese food carts? Seems to reflect the general lack of (good) Chinese restaurants inside of 82nd–30 Thai carts, a growing number of Vietnamese, even a couple Korean carts, and no Chinese food. . .

  10. Thanks for all the comments everyone. So exciting. I agree, an Indian or Chinese food cart would be a great addition.

    Regarding Sushi Tree- we spoke with them and they are a vegetarian cart, so no raw fish is sitting around at the cart if that is what you are concerned about. They have a very detailed mission statement on how they plan on running their cart. I’m looking forward to it.

    See you there.

  11. Thanks for the note Mr. N.M.!

  12. Mr.NuevoMexico says:

    Hey all, I just wanted to give you an update. Sugar Cube will be moving in soon. Our landlord is waiting for some equipment he ordered, to help move the rest of the carts in place without using a tow truck. Another exciting detail about this new “pod” of food carts is the german pub Prost. The owner seems to be real excited about a symbiotic relationship between the Pub and the Carts. There is on going dialogue about having the bar patrons able to purchase cart food and bring it into the bar. Beer and Cart food……………. QUE VIVA!!!!

  13. Hi Everyone,

    Kir here from The Sugar Cube….yes the rumors are true! The sweet treats cart will also grace the Mississippi Pod within the next few weeks, but probably won’t officially open for another month(keep you posted). I’ve been hard at work getting this lovely cart ready.

    There are some new changes to the menu…think dessert bar! Along with some of the oldies but goodies there will be several fine dining style desserts on the menu that will rotate seasonally. Some flavors you might see on the new menu: Ovaltine malt, grassy green olive oil, beer, cheddar, brown butter, bacon and sea salt…you know how I like the salt!

    Just a quick shout out to all my good friends and awesome supporters that have stuck by me. I very much hope that I make you all happy with my new creations and you can taste the love in each and every bite. Suggestions always appreciated and I hope to keep your tatse buds on their toes.

    Sugar+Love=Happy,
    Kir

  14. Does anyone know if Sushi Tree has a website and/or menu up somehwere?

  15. Mum’s Kitchen @ 3441 N Vancouver Avenue is new to the area. This cute little red food cart serves INDIAN FOOD!!!

  16. We are so excited about these carts! I can’t wait to try them all!

    Mr. Nuevo Mexico –
    You’re not New Mexican food by chance, are you? I love Mexican, don’t get me wrong, but my New Mexico expat husband has green chiles in his veins, and if there was a spot to get his fix so close to our house… Que Viva indeed!!

  17. Mr. Nuevo Mexico says:

    Alexis, I was born and raised in New Mexico. I have my green and red chile’s shipped from New Mexico. I’m 100% New Mexican!

  18. Looking forward to SugarCube and seeing what other tasty treats await NoPo tastebuds. Happy at all the vegi/vegan options, however fear that the neighborhood needs more variety of sorts to keep this corner thriving. We were there today sampling the pizza and orange cream drinks – all delicious and good people. Future cart ideas – French fries, good sandwiches (Bunk-ish), and I echo the call for Indian chaat or Ethiopian.

  19. Tried Southwestern Pizza Company today…OUTSTANDING! It’s a pizza on a baked tortilla. Had the Macho. Going back tomorrow for another. The flavor comes from the toppings because of the ultra thin crust. Cool new idea.

  20. Thanks for the link, Cuisine Bonne Femme! Mr. Nuevo Mexico – we are STOKED to have you in the ‘hood. This is even better than our freezer full of Hatch! See you soon…

  21. Southwestern Pizza Company (place with a pizza on a tortilla) is located at the Mississippi Marketplace on Mississippi and Skidmore.

  22. Southwestern Pizza Company rules! The crust is perfectly crispy.

    I have tried to go to the Ruby Dragon twice. I have to say, they weren’t much for customer service the first time. They said they were only serving brunch, then when I tried to order, they said they were closed. boo. The second time, they were closed too. Bad timing I guess. I will try again, but 3 strikes and they are out.

    stumpette.blogspot.com

  23. Excellent breakfast at The Big Egg this morning! Coffee cart to their left has great fresh juice. Can’t wait to try the rest (Ruby Dragon certainly smells very good)!

  24. re: indian food (a sub-thread of these comments?), as Kas says above, try “Mum’s Kitchen”, a cart at the corner of fremont and vancouver. it is *amazing*!

    i had a great chat with the woman running it, and while its not strictly indian food (she seemed to be debating what she would put on a sign to describe it), i will clumsily sum it up as: “indian by way of south africa”. mostly though, the food is delicious!

    she gave me a lot to sample and the blend of fresh ingredients and varieties of spices were all fabulous. i didnt try a dish that i didnt like. she has chosen to dispense with some of the heavier milk-based fat, so you dont get the downtown-indian-food-cart heavy, oily feeling. however, there are pork and chicken dishes, and fried foods (samosas, etc); so its not about cutting fat out entirely!

    i tasted great vegetarian versions of the dishes as well, and sampled some fresh roti. all on a bed of fluffy rice. wow. and the prices are right ($6-7)… worth every penny.

    lest i sound like some sort of fanatic, know that the 3 other people who came up to the window while i ate had all been there before and independently said they had told “all their friends” about it.

    maybe the spices have caused some kinda of trance, but my opinion is, if there is any justice in the portland food cart world, this cart will have a huge line forming; so please hurry!

    -jon

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