Closed for winter

Location: SW 3rd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm

The Story:

Just over 3 years ago, while seeking out new carts and to discover what was on the horizon, I came upon Picnic, a blog about building a food cart. The craftsmanship of the work impressed me, so I kept checking back to see when they would launch. Fast forward to 2011 and we now have a stunning forest cabin style food cart named Picnic and they are here to feed you.

John Dovydenas started his dream of cart ownership with an old travel trailer. His family and friends had encouraged him to open one after enjoying his twice weekly supper clubs. The trailer was a bear and after some demolition, John decided it would be better to build a cart from the ground up starting with a flatbed trailer. Salvaging wood from the Rebuilding Center and doing a forest cabin motif, every detail of the cart was constructed by John and friends. Over the last couple of years, he chronicled the build along with other adventures in eating, winemaking, gardening, and creating recipes for the cart on his blog – PDXPicnic.com. I enjoyed watching the progress of the cart, but also learned more and more about the person behind it. You were able to get a glimpse into the style of food he was going to serve once open.

Beet and Chevre from Picnic

Beet and Chevre from Picnic

John is joined in the cart by Jennifer and the two of them stand at the front of the cart greeting passersby with a smile. The menu at Picnic is comprised of sandwiches and salads and keeps it simple while creating some amazing items. John roasts the pork for the ham and cheese sandwich daily in the back of the cart and bakes his sourdough bread every morning, fresh. One sandwich on the menu – the beet and Chevre – intrigued me. Roasted beets, Chevre and watercress are sandwiched between two slices of dense homemade bread. A wonderful crisp and cool flavor of the beet with the creaminess of the Chevre made my day. I would never have thought to anchor a sandwich with a large slice of beet.

Picnic is one of those carts you take the time to enjoy. While waiting for your order, check out the craftsmanship of the cart including the mason jar lamps and the cheese window. John’s sandwiches are wonderful and I can only imagine the salads would be equally enjoyable. Grab a couple of to-go items and walk over to the park to enjoy your own Picnic in the city. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Reuben: corned beef, sauerkraut, Willamette Valley baerenkass, thousand island – $8
  • Ham and Cheddar: cart smoked ham, Tillamook Cheddar, carrot pickles, mustard greens – $8
  • PB&J: strawberry jam, freshly ground peanut butter – $5
  • Beet and Chevre: roasted beets, Chevre, watercress – $6
  • Lithuanian Salad: beets, hard boiled eggs, potato, dill, onion, sour cream vinaigrette – $3 or $5

Full menu can be found at PDXPicnic.com

Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm
Website: PDXPicnic.com



  1. jonathan moore says

    Hands down the best Reuben I ever had!

  2. I’ve been curious about this cart since they opened. I finally decided to hand over the $8 dollars to try their Reuben sandwich. It sounded good and, from reading their website, it looked like it might be worth it.

    Unfortunately, it was a disappointing sandwich. If it had been large enough for two meals I might feel differently, but it was 4″x4″ and weighed 11oz. [I put it on a postal scale]. Certainly enough for lunch, though.

    The quantity would have been fine if the taste had been remarkable, or even better-than-normal. But it was the most characterless Reuben sandwich I can recall. There was almost nothing about it that made me think I was eating a Reuben except for the way it looked. It wasn’t completely flavorless, but the taste left me indifferent.

    I picked through the individual ingredients to try and find some flavor. Here are my impressions:

    Corned beef — Thick slices and the meet came apart nicely. But there was little flavor from the curing process. I wasn’t looking for heavy salt, but some hint of cloves, allspice, mustard…anything. Also, several bites came with large chunks of fat from the top of the brisket.

    Bread — Nice crumb, good balance of caraway seeds and subtle rye character. It wasn’t fried or grilled, but I think it worked well for the sandwich.

    Dressing — Bland. Tasted like the mayonnaise was made with nothing other than egg and oil. Whatever they added to turn it into thousand island dressing (maybe some homemade ketchup) added little beyond color.

    Sourkraut [sic] — Nothing. It tasted like shredded cabbage blanched in water that had some vinegar added. Nothing like the flavor I expect from sauerkraut. And I’m talking about homemade sauerkraut, not the canned or jarred variety. Maybe it was made with a fermentation process but, if so, it needed more time.

    The sandwich failed to come together at all. I’m curious about the beet and chevre sandwich they make, but after this Reuben I think I’ll chalk the $8 up as a lesson and avoid any further trials.

  3. Daniel Gaard says

    I now see this cart parked on SE Clinton? It is not open there just parked. Is this cart for sale? There is not a sign. I was just wondering.


  1. […] since Food Carts Portland wrote about my beet sandwich things have been very hectic. I feel as if the cart has become a beet […]

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