Food Carts for sale, closures and some racy news

dieselboi

Some news for this cool, wet, January:

If you didn’t know, The People’s Pig moved to the corner of SW 9th and Alder, taking over the white cart formerly owned by Spella Cafe. The truck Cliff used for the first generation of The People’s Pig is now for sale. You can find a photo of the truck here. If interested, contact Cliff either at the cart or via their contact page.

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The Portland Smoothie Company has closed. Their original sign stated they were closed for winter, but earlier this week, Jen posted that the cart was for sale. A great spot on SW 3rd and Washington. If interested, email mangopeanut@gmail.com

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If you’ve walked around the pods downtown in the past month, you’ve probably noticed the changes. No more large decks or awnings or seating areas. Some carts have taken the path of attaching the awning to the cart which is legal and still provides a way to stay out of the rain while you order. The crowds are the same for January and all the carts, except for a couple, are still open and in business. With such a quick change, it makes the row look fresh and new, as if the carts all just arrived.

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Lucy’s Original, a newcomer on the scene in the past month has moved again. They are now setup at LandPDX on N Mississippi, just south of Shaver street. They are open from 12-8 daily and have already garnered some neighborhood regulars. I spoke with Evan and he plans to be there through the end of the month. Also, they now have Lil’ Lucys – sliders.

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There have been many comments in both print and online media and blogs wondering if the Food Cart bubble has burst with both winter slowness and the changes the city forced the carts to make. I see it as a minor bump in the road, like the speedbumps you can go over at 30mph. But, I ask you, have the carts “jumped the shark?”

I ask this because Food Trucks are now the feature of a Ron Jeremy porn out of LA. Really? We’ve all come to love the term food porn and many food writers do incorporate sensual language to describe food, but Food Truck porn? How do they get the trucks to contort in that way? [Sorry, couldn't pass that one up.] I wonder if anyone at the Portland Mercury is aware of this? You can find all the details at LA Weekly.

Enjoy your meal – keep on Cartin’

Comments

  1. The carts jumped the shark long ago. I think this is going to be the year of the cart closures. It is very difficult to make money running a food cart, especially when business takes a tremendous dip every winter. It is sad, but I think you are going to see big changes this year.

  2. @ thedude, I’m just curious how much experience you have running a food cart, because from what I’ve seen, as long as you have a good business sense, It’s not that hard to remain viable. plus if you compare cart closures to restaurant closures, you see a vast difference, at least per capita….

  3. The only thing I can say about food carts jumping the shark is that if they have, why do I keep going to them? This isn’t some ridiculous fad. The food cart scene started up because a lot of people had great ideas about opening up restaurants, and then saw the numbers and thought, “Okay, something smaller.” I’ll continue to support food carts, because they make Portland Portland, and they fill my tummy with goodness.

  4. Produce something you can’t get anywhere else with care at a reasonable price…people will come and you will make money too!

  5. Much like people and other animals, the carts have exploited their ecosystem to the point of overpopulation. When there is a mass die off, just know that it is the natural order of things and that the species as a whole will be stronger for it.

  6. Bertha Pearl says:

    I appreciate the diversity that the food carts offer, and I also appreciate the wonderful restaurants in this town. I don’t believe it’s and either/or situation. The carts that have a good product, good marketing and a bit of capital to cover the lean months will be fine, just like in any other biz, you need to be prepared for the lean and the bounty. Wiffies and Potato Champion are examples of carts that are happening, even in the colder months.

  7. Why the “unfinished cart” at the corner 3&Washington is still over control? The only one I saw have a deck still.

  8. PEOPLE THINK CARTS ARE NEW,JUST LIKE ANIMALS THEY FORGET TOO. THEY HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE BEFORE 2007, ME PERSONALLY SINCE 2005 WHEN I MEET SAIED WITH ALYBA’S MEDITERRANEAN GRILL ONE OF THE FIRST CARTS I MEET, NOT INCLUDING THE LUNCH & BREAKFAST CARTS I AM SO USED TO EATING AT MY WORK THEY CAME TO US DAILY AND STILL DO EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY LIKE CLOCK WORK, AND AS ANY SLOW WINTER BE ADVERSE LEARN A NEW WAY, VAN AT DOG EAT DAWG DELIVERS WITHIN 2 MILES SO DOES A NEW ONE ROBB’S REALLY GOOD FOOD ON 52ND AND FOSTER EXCELLENT CHILI BTW.
    ANYWAY I DON’T THINK THERE IS ANY THING TO WORRY ABOUT THOSE THAT CANT DO IT QUIT THOSE THAT CAN DO IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE. BE WEIRD EAT OUT PORTLAND

  9. I don’t think they’ve jumped shark, I just think we’re seeing the ebb and flow of their popularity. As Rick Humphrey points out they have been around a long time, starting as “roach coaches” serving food at construction sites and factories. In the Bay Area I remember seeing them as a kid (and that was a long time ago…).

    I do think that there will be a point of saturation and I do question the location of some of the pods because I don’t think they have the traffic (foot or otherwise) to support the carts. But this is all normal business cycle, and the food cart market trying to reach equilibrium.

  10. Like any business, food cart success takes a lot of hard work, a great product (like creative, delicous food), great service and a little good fortune. I am ready to give it a go, so if you know of anyone looking to sell a 14′ or 16′ cart, in excellent condition, please e-mail me at sandy@caibpdx.com

  11. First cart experience: Mid-’80s, took the bus from Tigard to downtown to buy records at Django’s and 2nd Ave., and learned what a gyro was. There weren’t many carts back then, but the food was awesome, and for a high schooler making $3.85/hour, the price was right!

  12. oh that takes me back,good times but only 3.85 per hour

  13. Food Carts are strong as I see it. I deal with most of the locations through out Portland. Like any business the strong will survive. As of today I am aware of 4 new Food Cart locations going in. A fifth will be on 82nd that will be very large and have joint efforts with the city for cyclist that will be able to stop in, rest, shower etc. and then enjoy some great eats.

  14. Found this random cart online:
    http://boise.reachoo.com/ads/119105897

    a little far off the beaten path but a decent cart for someone.

  15. Are there any updates on re-usable containers for food cart use?

    And are food carts receiving greater inspection scrutiny? (from county health dept, city bldg permit, or other)

  16. Haven’t replied in awhile but I wanted to check if RICK HUMPHREY was still hyping (CURTIS TRAILERS) and replying in capital letters again. I guess he is.

    As far as jumping the shark, I think the attention has focused on issues, but winter time is always a slow period for the carts, correct? Maybe the focus will be on the food and improving the quality of it (if needed) over the phenomenon of the food cart scene, even though that’s the lure that makes people want to try them and eat more.

  17. dieselboi says:

    John,
    I think some attention has focused on issues, but that was 2 weeks out of the last 18 months. No one is really talking about the “issues” anymore. City hall has moved on to large signs.

    While I agree focus should be on the quality of food, this is an egalitarian profession. If someone wants to serve what others may think is subpar, they have that right and the market will determine if they succeed. Heck, look at how well Olive Garden and Friday’s do. Is that 5 star food? No, but it caters to someone.

  18. @ John Book, no longer using caps now that i put in a new keyboard thanks for the concern though

  19. :)

  20. this coffee truck for sale, could be complete mobile kitchen.

    http://burgersdogspizza.com/?p=4950

  21. Does a commercial deep fryer, 120,000 BTU use too much propane in a day, or should I buy a smaller one. I am gonna serve about 50 orders/ day.

  22. Mike Stanislawski says:

    John, what is your issue with Rick and Curtis Trailers? I think it is great he puts where he is from on here. Now Curtis just needs to start selling some food carts.
    I hope the food carts stick around strong for a very long time. I wish I could afford to join them and open my own but I need my full time income to cover the bills so for now, my bbq is just shared with friends and co-workers. As for the food carts, my wife and I make sure we hunt out a new one to try every weekend. It is a lot of fun and great food.

  23. Karmen Hawkins says:

    Does anyone know of any food carts for sale in good condition in Portland?

    Pleases contact me at msdivineone@gmail.com

  24. Craigslist has a few listed in the Business catagory…just type in Food Cart in the search space.
    Rick’s Stainless Trailers in Tualatin is able to build to suit in 4-6 weeks. 541-991-1879.
    Good Luck!

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