Pastrami on Rye


SW 4th and Hall
Hours: Weekdays, 11am-2:30pm

The Story:

Simplicity may be the root of success. Pick an item you like to cook, source the right ingredients and prepare it well and you too can make it in the food cart world. Pastrami on Rye does that with their namesake sandwich.

The cart is a collaboration between a brother, a sister and their mom. I like seeing a family support each other in these types of endeavors. It tells me they are willing to put in the long hours and hard work for those they love. The day we visited, Dre was taking orders while his mother Kelly made the sandwiches. Here in Portland, when an item like pastrami is discussed, many transplants jump to the front of the line to tell you how awesome the pastrami is somewhere else – usually a deli in NYC. Well, I have never been to those deli’s so have virgin taste buds and think Portland makes some great sandwiches. A contentious issue for sure.

The sammy I devoured came either on marbled rye or what I ordered – caraway rye. Kelly commented that the cut of the meat was off and apologized, but I couldn’t tell. How could you be wrong with sliced pastrami thickness? Almost an inch of that smokey corned beef love then topped with sauerkraut and deli mustard. How can one not enjoy such a work of sandwich art. The kraut wasn’t overwhelming, allowing the pastrami to be the star between the slices. The edges of the pastrami had a light crusting with what appeared to be crushed black peppercorns and other whole spices. Just a nibble of that and I’m in meat heaven.

Pastrami on Rye is now open at SW 4th and Hall, a vintage travel trailer sandwiched between a Thai cart and an Indian cart. They serve up all things pastrami including a veggie reuben with sauteed mushrooms and onions and home made matzo ball soup. There are a lot of carts out there doing great sandwiches. Hopefully, Pastrami on Rye will meet your expectations. Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pastrami on Rye: choice of caraway or marble rye, sauerkraut, deli mustard and 1/4lb pastrami – $4.75
  • Reuben: 1/4lb pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and homemade Russian dressing – $5.75
  • Veggie Reuben: sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, tomato, sauteed mushrooms and onions with Russian dressing – $4.75
  • Homemade Matzo Ball Soup: small $2.50; large $3.50

Hours: Weekdays, 11am-2:30pm
Twitter: @PastramiPDX



  1. pastrami on rye says:

    good morning,

    we would like to thank you for such a wonderful article on our food cart. thanks for taking the time to visit us and post the article, it’s much appreciated. just a side not my husband is also very fact he took the day off from his other job and will be at the cart today so dre may have a day off…we’ve had so much fun with this and hope people will enjoy a good lunch. our customers and other food cart owners have all been so helpful and’s been a great experience.

  2. the dude says:

    I am sorry, but if you have never eaten in a NYC deli then you are not really qualified to judge what a good pastrami sandwich is. You should go experience that and then get back to us.

    p.s. in order for your reviews to be valid, you might want to leave a negative review once in a while. when all of your reviews are positive, it makes people not trust you.

  3. dieselboi says:

    Dude, I respectfully disagree. While yes, there are place in the world that are the best at what they make, but that doesn’t mean one can’t fall in love with the same product 3000 miles away that tastes mighty good. I don’t have to travel to Poland to taste amazing pierogis when I can get them locally and they sate my tastebuds.

    Regarding negative reviews. If you would like to read about the negative parts of the scene, Yelp is where you can find that. Here at Food Carts Portland, we tell the story and our growth in readership tells me we’re doing something right.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  4. Snowyaker says:

    Dude, I’ve ate NYC pastrami (and bagels) and while good it certainly doesn’t mean good pastrami (and bagels) can’t be made outside of Gotham. In fact, there’s some great pastrami (and bagels) right here in Portland. I haven’t eaten here yet, but I’m betting you haven’t either. Besides, for $4.75, you can’t get that anywhere. Not even NYC.

    As for the site, keep up the great work.

  5. karmarat says:

    If you can only get “real” pastrami in NYC, does that mean you eschew pho unless in Vietnam? All ethnic/regional food can only be good in its place of origin? It took me a while to accept Portland barbecue because I am from KC, but it was worth it to open my tastebuds. Try it, and you just might be pleasantly surprised.

  6. On a non-NYC related note, I had the veggie reuben and it was delightful.

  7. To amplify Snowyaker’s response…I’ll bet you can also find some really awful pastrami (and bagels) in NYC delis, probably more readily than you can find the good ones. I know that’s certainly the case with NY-style pizza — which, adapting the Food Critique Rule offered by the dude, I’m “qualified” to judge.

    The link below, posted on portlandfoodanddrink a few months back, is an interesting New York Times article in which the writer describes the decline of the traditional Jewish deli (“…huge sandwiches of indifferent meat, watery chicken soup and menus thick with shtick…”) and the birth of new school delis with “excellent pickles and pastrami”. Among her examples of the new delis: Kenny & Zuke’s.

    I’ve had Kenny & Zuke’s pastrami and was personally not-at-all wowed…way too overcooked, dry and chewy for my liking. Maybe they were having a “bad pastrami day”. But please don’t take my word for it, especially since I’m not “qualified” to judge.

  8. I went here for lunch today based entirely on this post. I had the Reuben. It was really wonderful. The fact that I went here instead of the other 94 carts in that pod speaks volumes about what positive reviews can do for a local business.

    I like your writing style, and I like that you couch your complaints (about the bread you ordered versus the bread you ended up with) in an amusing manner.

    For what it’s worth, this is better, more manageable, than any sandwich I had in New York.

  9. Stefanie says:

    I’m from NYC and I wholeheartedly agree that there are wonderful versions of pastrami all over the country, including in LA and right here in Portland (Kenny and Zukes, for instance). I’m seriously looking forward to trying this new cart – and yes, the price for a pastrami sandwich cannot be beat!

  10. Dieselboi says:

    Oops. I actually ordered and got caraway rye. The photo here is of my friend’s sandwich which was marbled. 🙂

  11. I lived in the east village/LES for a long time, close to both Katz and 2nd Ave Deli (before their rent got too expensive). Katz is good, 2nd Ave is Kosher and tastes like cardboard. But Katz pastrami & rye is going for close to 15 bucks, they run the restaurant in a totally retarded way and sometimes if you don’t tip them they will skimp on the meat, bastards. $5 for a sandwich, can’t beat that, its hard to mess up corned beef or pastrami.

  12. TheGiantClam says:

    NY pastrami? Please. The best pastrami in America is currently being served up in LA at Langer’s Deli.

  13. I ate here on Tuesday this week. Was busy, service was fast, sandwich prepared quickly by a friendly young man. Took it back to work and it was still hot and wonderful. Plenty of meat in my Ruben and the bread was great. My office has ten of us in it and we eat at the carts pretty much daily. This for sure is going to be one of our regular spots now.

    There is another cart at the same location that sells sandwichs and soup. I was disappointed in the sandwich there…hardly any meat and the cole slaw sold with it was heaped on top of the roll. Made the sandwich soggy and was a disappointment to me. The cole slaw was good..but, too much piled on the sandwich.

    This place is awesome.

  14. pastrami on rye says:

    thanks lisa, is this the same lisa who’s order was lost on thurs…we apologize…we had a fan going because of the hot weather and the paper your order was written on was blown away…we would like to make this right and offer you a comp lunch…stop by again soon and let us know it is you ( the missing order girl) thanks…

  15. I am so glad there is now a review of Pastrami on Rye on here so I can comment.

    It’s one of the best sandwiches I’ve personally cared to eat. I am not a fan of sauerkraut so I was skeptical of ordering a Reuben but let me tell you- it was AWESOME. The cabbage was a little crisp and tangy. The meat is definitely well seasoned and the portion is about 5x larger than a Subway $5.00 sandwich.

    I’m actually going there for lunch today since dosirak is closed for a few months – they’re probably my second-best find in that food cart pod so far.

  16. Ha, ha…not that Lisa…I am the Lisa you sent information to about opening a food cart. Would love a free sandwich, but I haven’t earned it 🙂

  17. Is Pastrami on Rye kosher? We have visiting relatives and would love to take them.

  18. pastrami on rye says:

    hi K.T., i’m sorry it isn’t completely kosher…would love to have you visit though.

  19. pastrami on rye says:

    K.T.i,f you give us 24 hr notice and their names we’d love to put up a welcome to them on our black board..if you decide to come down..

  20. Just had my first Ruben from POR and it was fantastic. I consider myself a Ruben snob and this is one of the best ones you can get in town. To me the dressing and krout is really what puts it ahead of the pack. Only wish i could corned beef there.

  21. pastrami on rye says:

    hi jeff,

    if you give us a few days notice prior to your next visit we’ll have corned beef available for you.

  22. Pastrami on Rye made me the most exceptionally delicious Reuben today! The condiments were perfectly balanced, the marble rye was evenly toasted, the meat was magical, and the cheese was heavenly. Thank you Pastrami on Rye for becoming my new favorite food cart in Portland-you will be seeing a lot more of me!!!

  23. pastrami on rye says:

    we look forward to that emily…thanks for such an great review…POR

  24. I am a huge fan of the Ruben sandwich, next to Gyros it is my favorite.
    I went and checked out Pastrami on Rye, and was more than pleasantly surprised with the Rueben I received. First off the price is very good. That other place to get a decent Rueben in town is over double the price, of these guys and they are not double as good, in fact they are about as good as Pastrami on Rye.
    I ordered a Ruben on Russian rye, and I got a good sized sandwich with tart Sauerkraut, great dressing, and grilled like it should be. The sandwich was hot, and the cheese melted in properly.
    I give this little food cart a hearty recommendation to all those who love the Rueben, and seek the sandwich wherever it may be found.

  25. pastrami on rye says:

    ron,we appreciate your support…look forward to serving you again…POR

  26. LOVE this cart! I’m from Philly and have had many a Jewish deli pastrami, as well as matzo ball soup. This cart not only has wonderful pastrami and turkey meats, it also has the right bread – marbled, rye with caraway seeds, PUMPERNICKEL!!!

    The matzo ball soup is outstanding. Good as any East Coast deli. Yum.

  27. Sunshine says:

    I normally hate sauerkraut, but not from Pastrami on Rye! I got a marbled pastrami sandwich and it was the envy of the office. Delicious.

  28. ComfortJunky says:

    These guys are making the best darn pastrami sandwhiches! Piled high with delicious pastrami! My favorite cart on 4th by far!

  29. soycamo says:

    I think this cart closed and became a pupuseria. It’s too bad, whenever I had a hankering for a super-meaty sandwich this was the best. The owners were friendly and warm, just like their sandwich…!

  30. Donna Beamer says:

    I’m looking for a good pastrami on rye deli to surprise my husband who says he can’t find one in Oregon (he found two places in California, but not here in Oregon). Will you open again, or can you suggest another deli? Thanks!

  31. Bertha Pearl says:

    @ Donna Beamer Kenny and Zukes does a great pastrami on rye, they are however, not a cart

  32. Laurie Coyote says:

    there is actually no good pastrami in PDX. All the pastrami tastes like it was kept in a box of pot pourri for a month. Have never had a good rye but I am guessing with our quality bakeries there might be a couple. Kenny and Zukes sucks. Katz’s is the best pastrami- period. and all you can put on it is mustard. and eat pickles with it. no cheese no ketchup, no mayo. a Reuben is a different story.

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