Rip City Grill



Rip City Grill

Location: SW Abernathy and Moody, South Waterfront
Hours: M-F, 10am-2pm

The Story:

In 1971, famed Portland sports announcer Bill Shonely coined the phrase Rip City while broadcasting a game between the Trailblazers and the LA Lakers. In the past 40 years, Portland has changed and grown and evolved, but we’re still the Rip City. We even have a cart with the namesake – Rip City Grill.

Owner and grillmaster Clint Melville will make you re-think the steak sandwich. With a menu offering up sandwiches, hot links, salads and burgers, Rip City has something for everyone, even the vegetarian of the group. The cart is located all by itself down in the growing south waterfront neighborhood. An area known for its condos and well manicured parks, a food cart would seem out of place, but they’ve come, stayed and made a success of it. There are a few carts in the city who have struck out on their own without the support of a pod or regular foot traffic and succeeded. Rip City Grill obviously has the chops to garner an audience and keep it.

Tri-tip steak sandwich el Caliente

Tri-tip steak sandwich el Caliente

The tri-tip sandwich can be had straight up or with any of Clint’s add-on styles. El caliente just jumped out at me as how I wanted to enjoy my steak – with sauteed onions, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese. My lunchmate chose the bacon and blue style with maple bacon blue cheese and sauteed onions. Both sandwiches were huge with an amazing amount of chopped steak grilled to perfection on a french roll. After the first bite, I grabbed the napkins to wipe my face. After about a third of the sandwich and five napkins, I gave in and just devoured it throwing caution to the wind. In the end, I had sauce all over my face an hands and was a happy eater. The steak was grilled and sliced just the right size so when you bite in, you don’t end up yanking out half the sandwich with once single piece. The el caliente style added some loving spice that made this one of the better sandwiches I have had.

Rip City Grill is open daily for lunch and is easily accessible via the streetcar from downtown. South waterfront has become a wonderful place to wander with fresh new sidewalks and a couple of parks. Grab your sandwich and enjoy the neighborhood. Clint even has picnic tables for you out of the rain. A great cart with a name that evokes some wonderful memories of this fine city. If you want to be wowed by a steak sandwich, check out Rip City Grill and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Sandwiches served on white or wheat roles with raw or sauteed onions

  • Hot link sausage – $4
  • 1/3lb burger – $5
  • Chicken breast – $5
  • Portobella mushroom – $5
  • 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese – $3.50
  • Tri-Tip steak salad with mixed greens, avocado, tomato, blue cheese, sauteed onion and balsamic vinaigrette – $6

Add a style to any sandwich for $1

  • Cali – Tillamook cheddar, fresh avocado, maple bacon
  • BBQ – Tillamook cheddar, BBQ sauce, maple bacon and sauteed onions
  • Bacon and Blue – maple bacon blue cheese and sauteed onions
  • el Caliente – sauteed onions and jalapenos, pepper jack cheese
  • Fungus style – sauteed mushrooms and onions

Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm
Phone: 503 544 2374



  1. Oh, that sandwich looks extra good, but not good early in the morning when I haven’t picked between a bowl of cereal and something random. I’ll have to try this Rip City “randomness” very soon.

  2. Rip City Grill is definitely one of the best food carts in Portland. Everything on the menu is so delicious. Definitely recommend their TriTip, Chicken, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. You will not be dissappointed. Clint is awesome.

  3. This place is off the beaten path. It’s on the streetcar line, but well past downtown into the South Waterfront condo development, which has so far developed little except condos. Clint is a very friendly and hard working guy and he has the magic touch when it comes to grilling. His grilled tri tip is fantastic, whether you have it on a sandwich or on the one excellent salad that he makes. He throws on crumbled blue cheese, avocado, tomatoes, and balsamic dressing on the salad and it is outstanding. I hope he doesn’t get too busy because he fun to chat with, but he can get backed up pretty good with all the people trekking to him for tri tip.

  4. This is truly one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. I’ve been several times, suggested to friends and now they’ve gone several times. Tri-tip is the item to get for sure. One of the best carts in PDX for sure. Hidden gem in South waterfront.

  5. Martin Thompson says

    People, go to this cart. Order the Tri-Tip Sandwich. Get an “extra” like the Bacon ‘n Blue! And then enjoy the glorious tastes that a carnivore enjoys! No, this is not for the vegan or even remotely vegetarian crowd although there are a couple of things available for those appetites. You will NOT be dissappointed either way. The grilled cheese looks fabulous and the tri tip is always PERFECT!!

    “Hi, my name is Martin and I am addicted to Rip City Grill’s Tri-Tip Sandwich!!”

    11 out of the last 12 week days has seen me standing in front of this cart anxiously awaiting my lunch. Never been dissappointed and I doubt it will ever happen. How many places can you say THAT about!!

    GO GO GO GO!!

  6. Oh my! You HAVE to try Clint’s Tri-Tip Sandwich. I’m a serious sandwich lover – and Rip City Grill’s Tri-Tip is, quite possibly, the best sandwich I’ve ever experienced. If we’re just talking hot sandwiches – then it’s certainly #1! Don’t delay! The line may be long at times – but it’s well worth it.

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