Location: Ira Keller Fountain Park – SW 4th and Clay
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime
Whenever I think of the first food carts I ate at, I harken back to the early 90′s and the carts that were available in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I forget about the love that we discovered when working down by PSU of the Hawaiian cart at the Ira Keller Fountain. Over the years, I can’t tell you how many rice bowls I ate there because early on, we were there every day – even in the rain. There is nothing like grabbing an excellent mix of marinated grilled chicken over rice and sitting at the edge of the fountain and enjoying the quiet while you eat. Over the years, the cart has come and gone and changed names and ownership. I’m happy to tell you that The Local Grind offers up what I remember and it is pretty darn tasty.
Some call it bento, others call it rice bowls, I call it chicken over rice. The Local Grind offers up three different types of marinated grilled chicken over rice – as simple as that. I’m glad it is simple as it doesn’t force me to choose from a large menu and it allows them to focus their energy on what they do well. The three types are garlic/honey, teriyaki and “da shred.” All are chicken marinated over night and then grilled and fresh for lunch every day. I usually choose two different types of chicken – garlic and honey and da shred. “Da Shred” is shredded chicken simmered in fresh ginger and garlic sauce and I’ll tell you, it is some of the best chicken I have tasted.
Sitting there with the slightly overcast sky, listening to the fountain was a great day to enjoy this lunch. I got a large, which is more than I really should be eating, but I finished it. The rice was a generous portion (I chose brown rice) and the chicken was moist and fully flavored throughout. No dry chicken here.
The Local Grind can be found at the top of the fountain across from Keller Auditorium. I would suggest them for before the opera, but I don’t think they do anything but lunch. While the weather is still nice, head on down to enjoy some local flavor and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- All meals are a bed of rice covered with a small or large portion of chicken. Brown or white rice available. Small -$5; large – $6
- Teriyaki – marinated overnight in homemade teriyaki sauce
- Da shred – tasty morsels of chicken simmered in fresh ginger and garlic
- Garlic honey – a blend of honey, sesame and fresh ginger and garlic
- Sides – Island style mac salad; fresh sauteed veggies – $1