Pioneer Courthouse Square Food Cart Lot

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pioneer courthouse square food carts

Pioneer Courthouse Square Food Carts in Portland

Portland’s living room now has permanent food carts. As part of the year long renovation of the park in 2016-17, the city decided to create a more active space for street food vendors and attract some rock stars. Prior to the construction, the carts at the square were open-air and had to move any time the square was used for large events. In the new model, three full size food carts have been placed up by Broadway with a fourth vendor (an original) is parked down off Yamhill where they’ve been for years.

The new vendors are some of Portland’s most famous and well known –

Burger Stevens – opened in Hillsdale a few years ago, this cart brought back the simple cheeseburger and does it well. Get it with two patties event and you’re still getting a deal at $9 for all the fixin’s.

pioneer courthouse square food carts

Burger Stevens Double Cheeseburger

The Whole Bowl – After more than a decade and eight locations, including two restaurants and outposts in Cinicnatti, The Whole Bowl is now bringing their signature dish to the square. Just the one bowl has made them famous world wide.

Fried Egg I’m In Love – Fried egg sandwiches were never the same in Portland once Fried Egg I’m In Love opened a few years back on SE Hawthorne. The Yolko Ono says it all – Fried egg, homemade pesto, parmesan, and a hand-pressed house sausage patty.

Steak’s Fifth Avenue – aka Philly Cheesesteaks and Burgers – The last of the original vendors who returned after construction has been around more than a decade feeding Portland some of the best Philly Cheesesteaks in downtown.

According to sources, more vendors are in store, but I kinda like the look and feel of the four currently there along with the large covered seating area above the KGW studios. Come summer, I hope these guys can handle the masses.

pioneer courthouse square food carts

Pioneer Courthouse Square Food Carts

Pioneer Courthouse Square is located in the center of downtown Portland at the cross streets of SW Broadway, Yamhill, 6th Ave and Morrison. Check Vendor links for menus and hours.

January Food Cart News

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Winter in Portland can be challenging for food carts, but event in the cool weather, Portland’s street food vendors are making it rain. Pun intended. Here’s some news to chew on:

 

The Oregonian/Oregonlive brings Portland Dumpling Week February 4-10 with 30 purveyors slinging dough wrapped delights. One of my favorite food carts, Mama Chow’s will participate again this year with Pork & Shrimp Dumplings pan seared with a spicy tangy dipping sauce on a bed of Organic Greens. Mama Chow’s is located downtown at SW 2nd and Stark. More details and a dumpling passport can be found here.

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We’ve all heard the news and see the changes Portland is experiencing with growth and development. Over the past year, a number of food cart pods have closed, mostly on the east side closer in. Now, with an impending Hotel Development, the food cart pod at SW 10th and Alder west of 10th will probably close in the near future. This affects Savor Soup House, The Dump Truck, Korean Twist, Caspian Kabob and Nong’s Khao Man Gai. Nong’s announced last week they are moving into a new restaurant space at 417 SW 13th, just a couple blocks from their original locale. While some have reported they are closing the original cart, Nong’s has stated they will stay open until the cart is “kicked out.” Their location at PSU on SW 4th avenue will remain open. Keep track of opens and closings on Nong’s Facebook.

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Food carts are coming to your neighborhood too! A few new food cart pods have shown up or are coming soon:

    • The Lot @ Scout – SE 50th and Division – food carts from Tidbit moved down Division and have opened at Scout Beer’s new location. Namu, Garden Monsters, Smaaken Waffles and more. Taproom coming soon.
    • Food Cart Heaven – NE 157th and Glisan – 6 food trucks featuring coffee, Mexican, Salvadoran and indoor seating
    • Level Brewing – NE 148th and Airport Way – Brewery and Taproom featuring 2 food carts, indoor seating and beer.

The Parmacy at Growler’s

  • Growler’s Taproom – SE 34th and Hawthorne – 2 food carts including re-located The Parmacy, indoor and outdoor seating
  • Cully Central – 4579 NE Cully Blvd – Coming soon. An indoor bar/taproom with food carts outside.
  • BG’s Food Cartel – In the Round in Beaverton – 30 food carts, a bar and taproom, indoor/outdoor seating and an event space. Wow! Soft opening Feb 2.
  • fopo Food Carts – SE 72nd and Foster – 10 plus carts – coming soon.

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Keep on exploring the amazing street food out there and thank you for your continued support of Portland’s street food scene.

Summer Food Cart News

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Portland in summer is always a time to be out and about checking out the latest street food. Here are some updates:

Mississippi Marketplace sold. Dan Hart and his partner in PROST! have purchased the building and property that houses the bar and the food cart lot. Pretty exciting news. If you’ve never been, you should check it out. Mississippi Marketplace opened in 2009, a brand new concept for street food in Portland. While there have always been food cart pods, most were grab and go, whereas, Miss Marketplace offered seating and cover. With PROST now owning the entire lot, I expect some wonderful changes. Can you spell Beer Garden? Mississippi Marketplace is located at N Mississippi and Skidmore and hosts 10 vendors.

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Kingsland Kitchen opening restaurant. Popular downtown cart Kingsland Kitchen announced in July they will close their cart on SW 5th and Oak. They will be opening their restaurant on SW 3rd and Pine soon. Owner’s Chris and Holli Payne will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner at the new location which will open in September.

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The food cart pod on the NW corner of 15th and Alberta will close at the end of summer. Vendors DesiPDX, Gumba, Le-Tap and Bibingka are actively trying to find a new home. Its hard to move a cart and start a new location, especially when winter is coming, so drop on by and show them some love. The lot will close on September 1.

The Gantry on South Waterfront is also closing at the end of August.

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bubble waffles

Bubble Waffles

Bubble Waffles. Usually when new street food comes to town, one vendor hits the ground running and, BOOM! they own the cuisine. This summer’s newest treat is Bubble Waffle cones. Puffle Waffle opened in May in Happy Valley and Fooshion opened in July downtown at SW 9th and Washington. Both use a waffle maker to create a unique bubbly waffle then fill it with ice cream and toppings. Mine had Pocky! So great to have a dessert vendor back in downtown.

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A couple of nasty fires have occurred in Portland, displacing some excellent restaurants. Earlier this year, a fire at Tails and Trotters and neighbors The Pie Spot closed both locations while they rebuild. Lucky for them, there was space to drop in a food cart, so both businesses are open now in the cart at 511 NE 24th. The Pie Spot is in the cart on Sundays and Mondays and Tails and Trotters the rest of the week.

Big’s Chicken closed after a fire tore through their new digs on NE Glisan. Having only been open a few months, it is a tragic blow. Yet, they too have bounced back with a pop up food cart in the parking lot of Laurelhurst Market. Good luck to all.

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With the weather warming up, please take note that some vendors will close due to the excessive heat. When it is 95 outside, it is 130 inside the metal box and equipment starts to fail. Just return the next day and all will be well.

Happy Summer

Food Cart News May 2017

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Some tidbits of news for your Food Cart Fans:

Hotel to replace food carts. It was announced on Monday that developers have submitted preliminary plans to build a hotel on the lot at SW 10th and Alder where 12 food carts currently call home. Affected vendors include Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Savor Soup House, Caspian Kabob, The Dump Truck, Ole Latte and more. Some of these vendors have called the lot home now for over 8 years. According to the Willamette Week, any movement won’t be for at least a year, but mind you, vendors won’t want to be left hanging, so you may see changes on that lot sooner than later.

We reported in 2016 that the Goodman family, one of the largest property owners in downtown, had submitted proposals to develop a number of lots which includes the food cart lots we’ve grown to love over the last 30 years. Good luck to all.

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Milwaukie has embraced food carts. The City of Milwaukie will open their own food cart pod on a parcel of land next to the downtown MAX Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St station at 11301 SE 21st Avenue. With spots for more than 10 vendors, if you’re looking, you may want to look south. More information can be found at their website. They look to open in May.

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Have you had a Schnitzelwich? One Pound of Pure Joy? Well, if you haven’t, you should visit Tabor soon for your fix. Tabor has been a mainstay of Czech cuisine at the SW 5th and Stark food cart pod for 10+ years. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Karel and Monica over the years and having them not there as I walk by will be different. They will be serving up their signature sandwich through the end of June. Fear not, in their announcement, they stated the Schnitzelwich will never die, so watch for future endeavors.
Tabor Schnitzelwich - 1

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The Racist Sandwich Podcast visited “Shawarma Square” and live to tell about it. Over the last few years, downtown Portland has seen almost a 100% increase on the number of vendors offering Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. There are gyros on every corner. Writer Zahir Janmohamed visited the lot at SW 10th and Alder (the entire city block pod) and wrote about the different options for Shawarma. Take a gander.

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The Portland Food Hall has opened. Located at 827 SW 2nd ave, the food hall offers up cuisines from some of Portland’s favorite food carts, but inside. Vendors include Moberi juice and smoothies, Casa coffee, The Whole Bowl, Aiko Ramen (from the Hapa Ramen team,) Boke Dokie and Minibar. Another great option for eating in downtown. Congratulations to the food cart vendors on opening brick and mortar locations.

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Spring finally arrives today with some warm weather. Food carts are the smallest of small businesses, so if you’re itching to enjoy the sun, drop on by one of the many pods throughout the city and enjoy some amazing street food. Thank you for your continued support of Portland’s ever evolving food cart scene.

October Food Cart News

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Here are some updates on Portland’s street food scene:

If you haven’t ventured beyond your favorite food cart pod, there are some new ones that have grown into their own this summer and solidified their spot into Portland’s pod map:

    • Piedmont Station – NE 7th and Killingsworth – Opened in 2015, this lot now hosts 10+ food carts, covered seating and Le Tap, a beer cart with numerous craft options
    • Killingsworth Station – NE Killingsworth and Maryland – the lot here was built in 2014, but never got traction until now. 6 vendors including Salvadoran, Vietnamese, Mexican and Hungarian
    • Kenton Pod – NE Denver and Interstate – this pod, owned and managed by PDC is brand new with 3 vendors including old favorite Killa Dilla
    • Grubbin at Ankeny Square – W Burnside and 9th – a challenged park is now a food cart pod. 2 food carts and a community space
    • NE MLK and Beech – Newly finished, but no food carts as of yet
food cart news

Hungaricana at Killingsworth Station

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Some closures to note:

  • Beech Pod on N Mississippi – Gabagool and Tiffin Asha have closed their carts to move into restaurants. MF Tasty moved to N Williams and Failing
  • Central Eastside Food Cart Pod – closed for development
  • Thick Deep Dish Pizza closed downtown and moved into a food truck. You can find ChicagoLand roaming the streets of Portland serving up Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza

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The Portland Mercado, one of Portland’s best food cart lots with a purpose, suffered significant vandalism this week, shutting down 7 of the 10 food cart and causing approximately $25,000 in damage. The Mercado is a beacon of community development with brick and mortar spaces, a commissary kitchen and vendors selling everything from Peruvian to Cuban to Michoacan and more. A destination spot for many. If you are a fan, plan a visit this week to support the lot and the vendors. They will reopen.

On Wednesday, it was reported that a number of vendors at Carts on Foster were also vandalized. If you have any information about either of these incidents, please contact the Portland Police.

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Thank you for your continue support of Portland’s street food vendors.

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