Location: 7316 N Lombard at Kruger Farm Stand
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 9am–7pm; Fri/Sat, 9am-9 or 10pm; Sun, 9am-8pm
North Williams street has become a new nexus of activity in North Portland. With in the influx of restaurants, salons, a dessert place and a brewery, it was only a matter of time before a food cart opened. And where it opened is important. The space where Che Cafe is located is right next to a 1935 building where you have indoor seating. The development, by the developer of Portland’s most green building – The Heritage on NE MLK – is perfect for Portland’s unpredictable weather.
Che Cafe is Ryan and Terri’s dream. Both love dogs, simple as that. Why talk about dogs? Well, throughout the years, Ryan and Terri have had four amazing dogs – Nikai, a husky who was active and free spirited; Che’, a large Princess Shepard who loved to lounge; Riley, a senior Shepard mix who appeared to have “doggy Alzheimers,” but was happy and kind; and then Sadie, a senior border collie mix who was very attached, loving and affectionate. All of these dogs had an impact on Ryan and Terry and they want Che’ Cafe to provide neighbors the same love and devotion those dogs showed them throughout the years.
I visited Che’ Cafe with some fellow food cart enthusiasts. We were all ready for the weekend and indulged in our personal weaknesses. A couple of pulled pork sandwiches over here, a burger over there and even a black bean burger for the vegetarian of the group. Each of the dishes came with crunchy fries and homemade ketchup.
I enjoyed the half pound Bubby Burger. A monster of a burger, it came with crispy fried onions and cheddar cheese. The burger is exactly what I was craving and it was cooked just right. The seasoning was spot on – you could tell this was good ground beef mixed with spices and made into a patty by hand. The crispy fried onions were an added bonus.
The added bonus to this cart is the building next door. They offer up indoor seating for those wet and rainy days or even for those who don’t want to take their food and go. Inside the 1935 redeveloped building is a coffee cart and restrooms, along with a performance space called the Analog Lounge (i.e. no cell phones or laptops.) When you get over to North Williams and you see this bright red cart named Che’ Cafe, stop on by, have some great American food and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.
[Cart moved to N Lombard in May 2012. Hours have changed and expanded menu can be found at checafepdx.com]
- Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with grilled cheese sandwich – $6
- Mr. Riley’s Sake Mac & Cheese – macaroni tossed with 3 cheese sake sauce, topped with fried onions and served with garlic bread – $6
- Caprese Capellini – capellini tossed with garlic tomato oil, fresh tomatoes and basil topped with fresh Parmesan and served with garlic bread – $7
- Fu fries – tofu lengths fried to a crisp and served with sweet and spicy sauce – $5
- Pulled Pork Sandwich – dry rubbed pork cooked til it falls apart sauce with homemade BBQ sauce on an onion bun – $7
- Meatloaf sandwich – homemade meatloaf smothered with sharp cheddar cheese – $8
- Half Pound Bubby Burger – burger topped with aioli served on onion bun with all the fixins – $7