A few years ago, as the food cart scene here in Portland was heating up with a new cart opening daily, a group of veterans and some new wildcats gathered to chat about the state of their industry. I joined in and we formed a casual alliance which later was leveraged to work with city, county and state officials whenever the subject of mobile vending was discussed. One common theme that always came up during those dinners was that some lot owners were challenging to work with. Everyone thought it would be awesome if a lot could be owned and manged by a food cart owner, someone who had been in the trenches and knew what everyone was dealing with.
That lot is about to open down of SE 2nd and Oak. Mike McKinnon of Potato Champion has found the ideal partner in Urban Works Real Estate and is opening what some are already dubbing a “superpod.” Aptly named The Row, the lot will feature some of the most popular carts in the city – Koi Fusion, Whiffies, Potato Champion, Pyro Pizza and Big-Ass Sandwiches, the winner of the Best Sandwich in the NW by Adam Richman. The lot, at SE 2nd and Oak is looking to open towards the end of October and add a cocktail bar with a deck and city views by spring. With the ever evolving central east side, the addition of food carts will be welcome by all.
Congrats Mike and all the cart owners who are shaping this new project. Watch for more details as they emerge.