Starchy and Husk


SW 2nd and Oak

The Story:

As my generation grows up, I think we’re rediscovering some of the comfort foods that got us through our childhood – PB&J, Tater Tots, and Mac & Cheese. Portland is lucky to have a restaurant that has been serving up tasty mac & cheese now for 20 some years – Montage. Now Portland can get some tasty mac & cheese from a cart. I give you Starchy and Husk.

Starchy and Husk opened in early April and seems to be doing brisk business at the North Station cart pod. A bright red refurbished sportsman trailer from yore is home to one of the most beautiful stainless steel modern kitchens I have seen in a cart. As I looked in the window, I was blown away at what they had built. Starchy and Husk gets the name from the 1970’s show Starsky and Hutch and the design is around the Gran Torino paint scheme. They even have items on the menu referencing the show – The Gran Torino and Huggie Bites.

I ordered up the Gran Torino meal at the recommendation of Tom, the owner. His statement of “it may have too much pancetta in it…” convinced me. My response was obvious – “how can you have too much pancetta in anything?”  The Gran Torino is mac & cheese made with chunks of baked butternut squash, pancetta, 7 cheeses and then baked with panko bread crumbs on top. It is a good portion and the butternut squash gives is a sweetness I have never thought to add to mac n’ cheese. The pancetta was a nice touch and not overwhelming as Tom had been concerned about. The meal I ordered came with a green salad and a piece of cornbread.

Starchy and Husk is serving up mac & cheese at this time with the cornbread acting as the “husk.” As sweet corn comes into season here in Portland and the surrounding area, Tom will have a roaster in order to serve up fresh roasted corn – the “husk.” Such a great idea and a food that pulls at my childhood heartstrings. I will probably be spending some quality time getting to know Starchy and Husk this summer. If you are up in North Portland, look for the bright red and silver cart and enjoy a childhood memory. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Update: January 2010, Starchy and Husk moved to SW 2nd and Oak]

Sample Menu:

  • The Gran Torino: 7 cheeses, chunks of butternut squash, pancetta, topped with panko breadcrumbs – $6
  • The Classic: made with sharp cheddar and topped with panko – $5
  • add side salad and cornbread to either meal for $1
  • Huggie Bites: gluten free sweet potato hush puppies – 5 for $2

Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 11am-7pm; Saturday and Sunday, 12-8pm
Phone: 503 708 7819
Facebook: Starchy and Husk




  1. Nice review and it sounds damn tasty, but fwiw: it’s spelled “pancetta.”

  2. dieselboi says

    I was respecting the cart owner’s spelling per their menu.

  3. Eddio,
    Please don’t blame dieselboi. I made that mistake while putting together my original menus, please stop by for a free loobster dinner on me.


    Thanks for the awesome writeup!


  4. Loobster! Ha ha!!!

  5. After helping Tom build his food cart we just HAD to stop by and sample the mac n cheese. I know, twist my arm… The mac is so cheesy and flavorful with the butternut squash the perfect compliment. The huggie bites and specialty sauces rock!

    Cant wait for fresh roasted corn.

  6. Today was my first time trying S&H, after having gone to the pod (for his neighbor Wicked Waffles for weeks). It was well worth it. I will certainly go back again. The mix of flavors in the Torino was delicious. And the cornbread? Damn was it ever good.

  7. As a long time fan of Starsky and Hutch I wish I lived closer to Portland! This would be so much fun!

  8. Like Tookie, I’m also a long time S&H Fan. This just tickles me. Any chance you’ll come to New York?

    If ever I’m in Portland, I’ll be sure to stop by.

  9. Well I waited a long time to try S&H. Everytime I came they were closed so you can imagine how hyped up I was the other night when I dropped by last minute for dinner. I immediately ordered the classic and boy WAS I DISAPPOINTED. I don’t even think I finished it all and that’s pretty bad because I FINISH EVERYTHING! So not sure what everyone else is talking about….maybe you’ve never had really good homemade mac-n-cheese from your grandma’s kitchen or sumpthin cuz this was not good. Sorry S&H but I won’t be going back.

  10. Just spotted their truck at SW 2nd and Oak. Anyone know the story? Temporary move? Permanent move? Sold the truck to someone else?

  11. It’s a permanent move (as far as permanent goes in the Food Cart world). Tom moved the Starchy and Husk cart from North Portland just yesterday. We’ll miss S&H at North Station, that’s for sure.

  12. Any idea if they’ve moved? Or gone on vacation? I stopped by 2nd & Oak today, and the cart wasn’t even parked there.

  13. Never mind! Their Facebook page says they’re relocating to a TBD spot. Sadface!

  14. Thanks for the update Autumn. I was looking for the cart as well. I really wanna try their Gran Torino.

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