Violetta

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Rollin' EttaCLOSED

Location: 6238 SW Capitol Highway, Hillsdale Food Park

The Story:

You know how when you plan something, you have all intentions of sticking with a schedule and finishing on time and all that jazz? Then someone or something throws a monkey wrench at ya. Well, that is what has been happening with the new Violetta restaurant at Director Park. Over the last year, they have had their share of stumbling blocks including a kitchen explosion and fire that has delayed their opening until spring. So, what does one do? Turn lemons into lemonade. The owners of Violetta decided to take the restaurant to the streets and open the Rollin’ Etta, a food truck serving gourmet hamburgers, franks, fries and salads. The truck made its debut this week. Shiny.

When I first heard of the Rollin’ Etta a few weeks ago from a press release, I got a little excited. Gourmet hamburgers in a food truck? I’m a huge hamburger fan and have had the pleasure of tasting some of the best in the city, both at carts and at restaurants. Some are inexpensive but perfect gems. Others are rather expensive and again…perfect gems. They run the gamut. Hamburgers are something that can easily be screwed up though, so just by stating you offer gourmet hamburgers doesn’t mean they actually are. For Violetta though, I have to say they hit a home run.

The Violetta Hamburger comes in two sizes-  1/3 or 1/2lb. Since I’m a glutton sometimes, I naturally order the bigger size in order to get the full meal deal. Made with grass-fed beef from Nicky Farms or pasture raised beef from Highland Oak farms, the burger comes with lettuce, onions, roasted tomatoes and super dills along with their secret Violetta burger sauce. After I ordered my burger, I realized I wasn’t asked how I wanted it prepared. I’m a medium rare leaning towards rare type of burger eater. Since it was a food truck, I didn’t let that concern me as I felt it may be a bit pretentious to make such requests. When I took that first bite, I realized they must have been reading my mind as it was the perfect medium rare that I simply love.

Violetta HamburgerThe Violetta Hamburger is a work of art. The patty appears hand made and,  as stated, cooked to a perfect medium rare. That magical pink in the middle is where all the tasty juices are. I ordered my burger with white cheddar, which was ideal as it had a dryness to it that mixed perfectly with the juicy tomato, the bun and the burger. I can’t say this enough – a burger work of art. I had to force myself to eat slowly and enjoy every bite and chew and take it all in.

Violetta is the handywork of ex-Lucier chef Jeremy Niehuss and owned by Dwayne Beliakoff who most recently had ROUX in North Portland, but closed that in late 2009. Violetta, the restaurant, will be a great edition to downtown and that area specifically with the open park and outdoor seating. One thing of note – the Rollin’ Etta’s prices are higher than that of a traditional food cart or truck by about 25%. While I enjoyed a wonderful hamburger, it begs the question if a food truck, albeit one associated with a upper scale restaurant and serving a gourmet product, can succeed serving $7-$11 hamburgers in this economy. Time will tell. Hopefully, they can get beyond the hurdles they have faced with the construction and actually get the restaurant open. In the mean time, if you have a burger craving or maybe just need some Oregonzola fries, head on down to the truck and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Violetta has moved to the Hillsdale Food Park in SW Portland as of 10/2012]

Sample Menu:

Burger options: 1/3 lb burgers come from grass fed beef from Nicky Farms; 1/2 lb burgers come from Highland Oaks farms; Natural Turkey burgers; Spicy Lentil vegetarian burgers

  • Violetta Burger – Violetta burger sauce, lettuce, onions, roasted tomatoes, super dills – 1/3lb – $7.00; 1/2lb – $9
  • Violetta Burger with white cheddar – 1/3lb – $7.50; 1/2lb – $9.50
  • Violetta Burger with smoked bacon and white cheddar – 1/3lb – $8; 1/2lb $10
  • Oregon Blue Burger – Rogue Creamery Oregonzola, bacon, caramelized onion on a hazelnut bun – 1/3lb – $9; 1/2lb – $11

All franks are 1/4lb Oregon Country natural beef franks

  • Dress your own Frank – house kraut, harissa ketchup, super dill relish and sweet onions – $5
  • Highland Oak farm beef chili Frank – white cheddar and caramelized onions – $6.50
  • Hand dipped Corndog – $4

Fries

  • Hand cut yukon gold fries – small $3; large $4.50
  • Hand cut sweet potato fries – small $3.50; large $5
  • Oregonzola fries – large order of yukon fries with sea salt, pepper and Rogue Creamery Oregonzola sauce – $6.50
  • White Truffle fries – sea salt, pepper and Oregon white truffle oil – $7
  • Salads and soups available as well

Hours: Monday through Friday – 11am-6pm
Phone: 503 234 FAST – available for to go orders also
Website: www.violettapdx.com
Social: @Violettaatdp on Twitter; Violetta on Facebook

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Comments

  1. It doesn’t seem pricey, it is pricey, but I think if people are willing to pay for quality, and good word of mouth makes this a must-have-at-least-once cart, people are going to want to come back.

  2. Damn good looking burger, and at $7 it’s $3 or so more than a typical food cart/fast food burger but seems worth it to me. I thought Roux had a mighty fine burger in its day.

  3. I tried the Oregonzola Fries and the soup of the day (squash) the other day and was blown away. Yes, it’s pricier than most food carts, but pretty standard for restaurant pricing. Going to go out and grab a burger from them today. :0)

  4. Oh, wow.

    Oregonzola fries? Why have I not thought of this before?

    This realization very well may take three or four years off of my life, but well…

    You only live once, right?

  5. Mondofresh says:

    Loved the Violetta burger with cheese! I wish I could afford to try more items on the Violetta menu. At these prices, I would like to see fries included with the burger.

  6. I’ve only tried their burger once, but so far, haven’t been terribly impressed. It was sooo greasy. Grease pooled in the wrapping and, despite my best efforts, ran off and onto the table. The bun was soggy with it which kind of ruined the overall texture. While I appreciated the taste of what was obviously good quality beef, the mushiness of the whole thing put me off a bit. That said, I will give them another try, but for a $9.50 burger that I have to take and run somewhere else to get out of the rain, I think it needs work.

  7. Being a vegetarian I did not think I would be blown away by a burger cart but I was! The lentil burger is amazing! I love how the roasted tomato adds texture and compliments the cheese. This is by far one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had. At a cart that obviously does meat very well they have not ignored the vegetarians out there looking for a burger fix. I also am hooked on the truffle fries. I love truffle anything, but these are special. The thinness of the fries and the fragrant oil make them completely addicting! I can’t wait for Violetta to open! I will definitely be going back for lunch at Etta soon!

  8. Wendi,
    I have heard good things about the lentil burger from others in the cart world. What I appreciate is that they have done the veggie burger in house and not just throwing a prepackaged veggie patty on the grill.

  9. They need to replace that god awful generator with something quieter…it completely ruins the peacefulness of the entire park.

  10. Snolly– as of tomorrow we have replaced our generator with a much quieter version, and the construction behind us is now complete as well.

    With the exception of the sounds from the cafe being rebuilt, I think you’ll find Director Park much more peaceful. Little things like this we will always address, as will our wonderlful partners at Parks & Recreation!

    Come back for more good food!

  11. I’ve eaten from this cart more than once. The beef used is truly wonderful, which is the main ingredient to a good burger. The Oregonzola sauce is not flavorful enough to pay extra for it. The fries are just OK. I won’t eat here again because the prices are too high. To be quite honest if you pay $8 to $10 for a burger patty and bread it has to be OUTSTANDING, a one of a kind experience. This just reminds me of any other burger, but made with higher quality beef.

  12. Ayla Gilbert says:

    Violetta–Food you can trust that is Local, Sustainable, & Made with a lot of L-O-V-E. High quality cuts of meat, tasty vegetarian options, and the best fries you’ve ever had. Can’t wait for the cafe to open!
    <3

  13. FoodieChick says:

    I’ve been hitting up this cart a few times a week for about a month now, so have tried pretty much everything. I’ve yet to be disappointed. Everything they serve is outstanding. Creative, prepared beautifully, and ridiculously tasty. Yes, it’s a bit expensive. I keep telling myself I should stop going there and should get something cheaper… and yet I keep winding up back there.

    Favorite items:

    Lentil burger
    Fried chicken sandwich (who knew a whole wheat biscuit could be so damn good?)
    Breakfast biscuit sandwich (egg, cheese, sausage patty on a whole wheat biscuit – delicious!)
    Squash soup
    Chili
    Portabella fries (deep fried panko-crusted strips of portabella, served with ranch on the side)

    Subscribing to their tweets and becoming a fan on Facebook is well worth it – they have specials once in a while and they’re worth taking advantage of. For example, the other day they were offering free fries with every sandwich purchase. Today they’re doing bowls of soup for the price of a cup.

    Bottom line: I definitely recommend. Yum.

  14. I ate here over the weekend, the truck was in SE right near Movie Madness. I got 2 burgers and 2 large fries for $30. Pretty pricey.
    I waited for my food outside for 35 minutes. I know this for a fact because i called my boyfriend just after i placed my order, and when she finally called my name to come get the food, i looked down at my phone and had been on this call for 34 minutes. Very irritated by the time i actually got the food.

    Then, got the food home. Had the Violetta burger and boyfriend had the Oregon Blue burger. Both burgers were pretty much RAW in the middle. My boyfriend and i both like our burgers/steaks pretty rare. But these were literally not edible. Makes me wonder what they were doing back there for 35 minutes because it certainly wasnt cooking our burgers. Boyfriend couldnt eat his burger at all, and i mean, he likes his meat rare. This was RAW meat inside. We had to throw the burgers away. We got them home and looked at them and were like WTF. So raw we were laughing at it.
    Fries were soggy and greasy.

    Way too overpriced, 35 minutes wait time, and burgers too raw to eat.

    I chose this food cart out of several that are in that food cart block. Very disappointed.

  15. SilverWings says:

    Violetta’s $5 corn dog tasted bad and was way overpriced. For that much money I expected a great dog in a corn batter that tasted like the real thing. It wasn’t worth half of what I forked over. My thoughts while eating it was simply ‘rip-off’. Like Angie above, I’m very disappointed with Violetta.

    BTW, within 25’ of this cart are Aybla Grill Mediterranean, Urban Garlic, and Kitchen Dances all of which offer great tasting food at very reasonable prices.

  16. KillYourDream says:

    ROLLIN!

    Alright this place was pretty great.
    My burger was excellent, however I did ask them to cook it just under well done. I saw photos of the burgers on their website and was uninterested in consuming a burger that was that pink inside. It seemed as if they push the fact that its cooked ‘perfectly’. I got my burger with cheddar and bacon – it was fab. On par with Veritable Q. I ordered the white truffle fries and was unimpressed. They had an odd flavor to them and where a bit soggy.

    Ive had the *large Oregonzola fries in the past and they where amazing. A HUGE portion for $6. It was a meal in itself.

    Will be back for more.

  17. I had the Pacific Salmon burger and white truffle fries and was not disappointed. Share the fries with a friend… it’s a large rich portion.

  18. Anyone know where this place is these days? I haven’t seen it at the ‘good food here’ pod the last few times I’ve been there…

  19. The Violetta truck has disappeared from the Hillsdale food cart area – what happened?

Trackbacks

  1. […] to the downtown PDX food scene. Their solution to the delay? Open a food cart of course; the Rollin’ Etta, which serves a portion of the soon to be available Violetta menu while providing all of the […]

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