Now that spring is here and we have more light and sunny weather approaching, Portanders are getting out and wanting to visit the food carts outside the traditional lunchtime hours. There are options for you later in the week and on the weekends. Sometimes they are carts that have later hours and other times it is a whole pod dedicated to a late night scene. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Cartopia: This pod at SE 12th and Hawthorne is Portland’s late night lot. Launched by Mike McKinnon and his Potato Champion cart, this lot has grown to be the only food cart destination open until 3am. Carts include Potato Champion with their fries; Perierra Creperie with smoothies and crepes; Yarp!? with pasta dishes and other items; Whiffies Fried Pies with sweet and savory pies; El Brasero with Mexican food; Bubba Bernies with southern and cajun fare; and finally Pyro Pizza with their wood oven ‘zas. On any given Friday or Saturday night, you will find a good fun crowd enjoying themselves at midnight or 3am.
- Ash Street: This collection of carts at the corner of SW 3rd and Ash is at the nexus of Portlands club and late night bar scene. I’m surprised the launching of carts in that area took so long. Who doesn’t want to eat right after leaving a show or the bar. Like Cartopia, these carts stay open till the wee hours of the morning – 3am. Carts in this lot include Big-Ass Sandwiches with their large sandwiches which include french fries and cheese sauce; Ninja Plate Lunch, a Hawaiian cart; Big Fat Weiners with a man dancing in a hot dog suit and others. There are other carts in the lot – Rick’s Wild Seafood and FlavourSpot, yet I am not sure if they stay open late night.
- Area 23: This pod at the corner of NE 23rd and Alberta may not be open in to the early morning hours, but they are serving the neighborhood by keeping later hours. Even in winter, the carts were open until 8pm and now with spring and summer arriving, they are staying open until 10pm or so. Carts here include Mono Malo with Spanish small plates; Fuego de Lotus with family recipes from Venezuela; Solar Waffle Wagon with sweet and savory waffles and finally Inspire, a vintage Portland streetcar serving up smoothies and raw food.
- Mississippi Marketplace: While this pod is anchored by PROST!, a German pub with many inebriated patrons late in the evening, this isn’t a late night pod…yet. Gradually, as we awaken out of our winter slumber, some of the carts at MM are beginning to extend their hours later in the day and evening. Garden State is now open until 8pm; Nuevo Mexico has been staying open until 6 and the Magic Bean has been seen open after 5pm. While this may not be a late night destination, it is definitely a weekend destination. Mississippi Marketplace usually has a steady stream of visitors from the moment they open for breakfast until some of the carts run out of food later in the day on the weekends. Carts include Dogfeathers with coffee; The Big Egg with wonderful breakfast sandwiches and wraps; Garden State with meatball sub, chickpea sandwich and other delights; Native Bowl with vegan amazingly flavorful rice bowls; Sushi Tree with vegan sushi; The Ruby Dragon with vegan dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner; The Magic Bean with falafel sandwiches; The SugarCube with yummy desserts and pie; Southwestern Pizza with handmade pizza on a thin tortilla and finally Nuevo Mexico serving up New Mexican inspired cuisine.
- North Station: One of the newest pods is located at the corner of N Killingsworth and Greeley and now has the most carts of any lot on the east side. This pod has carts catering to the breakfast and lunch crowd during the week along with being a destination spot for the weekend. When do these cart owners sleep? Anchored by Pizza Depokos in the building on the lot, they offer indoor and outdoor seating and have a permit out to get a liquor license. Carts include:
- El Rancho Taqueria – Mexican
- Savvy J’s – Cajun and Southern cuisine
- Saucy’s BBQ – BBQ ribs and sandwiches
- Sila Thai – Thai
- Caraquena Venezuelan
- Wicked Waffles – breakfast
- Yogio Korean bites
- Starchy and Husk – mac and cheese
- Olympic Hot Dogs
- Scoop Organic Icecream
- Brown Chicken Brown Cow – mix of Texas/Connecticut flavors
- The Kettle Kitchen – soups and stews
Other options for evening, late night and weekend nosh:
- Che Cafe on N Williams at Shaver is open for dinner hours.
- Altengartz Sausages takes their truck to Old Town for weekend nights across from CC Slaughters.
- The Grilled Cheese Grill on NE 11th and Alberta is open till the week hours.
- DC Vegetarian on SW 3rd and Stark is now open on Saturdays
- Built to Grill on SW 3rd and Stark is open Saturdays till 7.
- BrunchBox on SW 5th and Stark is open Saturdays
- Rockabillies is open at SW 4th and Burnside late night Friday and Saturday
- Carts at the Portland Farmer’s Market and Saturday Market offer food on the weekends
- The carts at Ala Carte, the pod at SE 102nd and Stark are weekend warriors
- Most taco trucks throughout the city.
I know I have probably missed some here, so let me know. There are new carts opening daily and we’re doing our best to keep up. Keep on cartin’