Food Cart Pod Closures

dieselboi
Food Cart Pod at SW 6th and Columbia

Food Cart Pod at SW 6th and Columbia

Today we learned that the food cart pod at SW 6th and Columbia in downtown Portland will close at the end of June. As a rather young pod, having only been open for a little over a year, it had gained a strong following for some of its more well known vendors. The carts were notified on Friday, giving them only 1 month to find new locations or close. A couple of vendors just located there in the past week, so they’re facing even more challenges, the cost to set up and move along with now finding a new location. According to one of the vendors, this isn’t about development, but about parking spaces for an adjacent building.

The vendors who will be displaced include Aybla Grill, Morning Wood Espresso, Taqueria So Mexican, Saffron indian, E-San Thai, Love Belizean and Thai Pasta 2.

The news comes a week after Portland learned that east side pods Cartopia, Good Food Here and North Station will all be closing after this summer season. The lots on the east side are closing in order to be developed for residential space. Heartbreak at learning that Cartopia, Portland’s original late night food option on the east side, will be closing, displacing some of the vanguards of the street food scene of the last 7 years. I distinctly remember the nights spent by the fire enjoying poutine and fries from Potato Champion or a crepe from Perierra Creperie. Losing such a beacon for the food cart scene will have an impact on Portland’s street food culture. Hopefully, another lot will take the reigns for late night indulgement.

With these closures, we’re seeing a shift in the overall scene here in Portland. There have been food carts in the city since it was founded, yet, as we have seen, the last 6 years has put Portland on the map as one of the best street food cities in the world. Our pod structure and the liberal interpretation of laws and regulations has allowed entrepreneurs and visionaries to carve out a place where great food and unique culinary experiences meet. Portland is a food town and the carts are a part of that.

I’ve always felt that the street food scene will continue to evolve and this is just another example of how the vendors will deal with an ever changing city they call home. I ate at my first cart in 1991 – Honkin’ Huge Burritos in Pioneer Courthouse Square. They’re still open an slingin’ burritos after all these years. That tells me the food carts are here to stay.

I ask of everyone who loves street food, and I mean you, the reader, to head out a couple extra times in the coming months and patronize those vendors who may be looking for new homes in the near future. Thank them for all the wonderful bites and throw them an extra buck if you have it. Street food is egalitarian and for us all. Without it, many of us wouldn’t have been exposed to Georgian cuisine or Kalua pork from Hawaii or wood-fired pizza or a Big-Ass Sandwich. Where else in Portland can you find khao man gai – Thai chicken and rice – but from a food cart.

Thank you for your continued support of Portland’s dynamic and ever evolving street food scene.

Vendors affected by upcoming closures:

Cartopia – SE 12th and Hawthorne

  • Potato Champion
  • Whiffies Fried Pies
  • Perierra Creperie
  • Bubba Bernies
  • Pyro Pizza
  • PBJ’s Grilled
  • El Brasero

Good Food Here – SE 43rd and Belmont

  • Brazilian House
  • Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack
  • Timber’s Dog House PDX
  • Blue’s City Biscuits
  • Fishbox
  • Herb’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese
  • Namu Killer Korean BBQ
  • Sushi PDX
  • Taste of Poland

SW 6th and Columbia

  • Love Belizean
  • Morning Wood Espresso
  • Taqueria so Mexican
  • Aybla Grill
  • E-San Thai
  • Thai Pasta 2
  • Saffron Indian

 

Comments

  1. Bummer. I didn’t realize that 43rd & Belmont was on the shutdown list too. My kids will be bummed if Herb doesn’t get a new spot.

  2. Aybla is at Good Food Here too…so they’re getting blasted off two plots.

  3. There are a few open lots in the Brooklyn area in SE. It would be worth checking out.

  4. I think micro-restaurants are a better long-term model. Street food has always been primarily the function of a poor society. Hell, when the economy was relatively strong 10 years ago, the only food carts were half as many downtown in just a couple pods and the taco trucks. The hipster food cart is an anomaly and I think those who had some perspective knew that they would diminish once the economy turned around if for no other reason than a 4 story condo/retail building is worth a lot more than 5 food carts paying $600/month in rent.

  5. What’s going on at 6th and Columbia? That’s a parking lot. Are they going to build a 40 unit apartment with now parking there too?

  6. Where is the source for good food here closing??

  7. A.Prince says:

    What the what?! Good Food Here is closing too? Suckage. At least the pod will be replaced by something equally as… oh…oh of course. Oh great.

  8. you forgot Aybla Grill at Belmont also will be finding a new home. Two of his carts need to find homes.

  9. With the closing of the 6th and Columbia pod, I’ll have to walk eight blocks to get to a food cart pod :(

    Where is the justice?

    To all budding food cart entrepreneurs, I pledge to regularly eat at any food cart pod that opens up near 6th and Columbia.

  10. dieselboi says:

    I have spoken with a few of the owners there who have confirmed the lot will be closing after this summer.

  11. Send anyone who wants to come to Sandy, the city council is in favor of it, and we get huge traffic at the 26 E W chokepoints. It could be a great location at least a couple of days a week once people start to get that you’re here. Contact the council for info, and we really do need good food out here.

  12. Does anybody know if Thai Pasta 2 changed owners? I’m a regular customer there but I’m currently out of town and my girlfriend went there for lunch and she told me it looked like they had different people working there….since I didn’t go there myself, I’m not sure if she was mistaken or not…but it would be great if anyone can let me know (or find out), I want to keep supporting them when I get back before the closure.

  13. Natalia says:

    No! Not my Chicken! I must have Jalopy! Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack, you are my favorite!

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