The Parmacy

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Italian food cart Portland

The Parmacy – Italian

Location: NE 23rd and Alberta
Hours: Wed/Thurs, 12-9; Fri/Sat, 12-10:30; Sunday 12-9

The Story: PARM – Huge lighted letters greet you upon the arrival to The Parmacy, a food cart on NE Alberta serving up New York style Italian favorites.

I sometimes feel we have a dearth of Italian options in the street food scene until I sit down and ruminate all we see at the different food cart pods. The Hoagie. Wood fired pizza. Piadinas. Pasta. Artigiano and Burrasca (now a restaurant) put Portland’s food cart pasta scene on the map with handcrafted noodles and regional flavors from the boot shaped land. Now, The Parmacy makes their mark. With a menu and namesake featuring chicken and eggplant parmesan sandwiches, they also offer additinal New York style Italian dishes while sourcing locally and making it all from scratch, including the pasta, breadcrumbs and tomato paste.

italian food cart portland

Olio Pasta from The Parmacy

Chicken parm, an iconic sandwich. I don’t believe I’ve had a bad chicken or eggplant parm sammie, so on that cold winter day I visited The Parmacy, I needed a change, a creamy dish, and on the lighter side. For pasta, three options – pesto basil, marinara or olio. A wide tagliatelle noodle is the base for Olio which comes with garlic olive oil, chili flakes, breadcrumbs and hand grated parmesan. A delightful dish of creamy pasta with just enough garlic and chili to balance out the parmesan. As a treat, I also devoured a plate of fried olives with marinara. So much for the light lunch.

italian food cart portland

Fried olives from The Parmacy

The Parmacy is a great addition to the street food options on NE Alberta, a street that offers up a diverse set of cuisines both at food carts and restaurants. Sandwiches, pasta dishes, sides, salads. They have it all. Next time you’re craving Italian, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu:

italian food cart portland

Menu at The Parmacy

Facebook: The Parmacy

WBX Meat Wagon

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burger food cart portland

WBX Meat Wagon

Location: 2401 NE Argyle
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-1:30pm

The Story: Most food carts are born of a long simmering desire or skill. Some concieved based on family recipes or traditions. And then there are the carts created to build and promote a brand. WBX Meat Wagon is the work of Western Boxed Meats and feeds the many in and around the industrial area of NE Portland.

Over the years, numerous corporations have utilized the food cart or food truck model to promote the brand or build customer loyalty. A few years back, the State of Wyoming parked a food truck in Pioneer Courthouse Square to give out “Buffalo Chips,” heavy chocolate chunk cookies. Come to Wyoming, see buffalo. The WBX Meat Wagon is a full service food cart and kitchen dishing up everything from salads to pasta dishes, sandwiches and burgers. The purpose here isn’t just the food, but to showcase the brands that the company Western Boxed Meats works with. Why not? You never know who your customer may be.

burger food cart portland

Double Bypass at WBX Meat Wagon

Since the cart is named the Meat Wagon, I ordered the Double Bypass Burger. Honestly, I misread the menu and didn’t realize I had just ordered 2 1/2lb burgers with bacon and cheese. Holy crap that’s a big burger. But at $7, I just halved it and, boom, lunch and dinner. Juicy, cheesy, bacony. Everything one needs for a solid lunch.

WBX Meat Wagon offers up a great option for breakfast and lunch for industrial NE along with turning the food cart model around to promote Western Boxed Meats’ products. A win-win for all. Next time you’re up that way, stop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
burger food cart portland

Facebook: WBX Meat Wagon
Twitter: @wbxmeatwagon

Arlo’s Fish and Chips

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fish and chips food cart portland

Arlo’s Fish and Chips

Location: N Chicago and Ivanhoe in St. Johns
Hours: Friday-Tuesday, 12-8pm; closed Wednesday/Thursday

The Story: Portlanders have discovered St. Johns. The north Portland neighborhood is a hidden gem of dive bars, restaurants, kitsch shops and food carts. On the corner of N Chicago and Ivanhoe, one block off Lombard, a new cart lot hosts 4 vendors vendors including Arlo’s Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips were always a treat for me as a child. Thick beer battered chunks of white fish dipped in the most mayonnaisey tarter sauce my mom could make. I loved it and even today, when tarter sauce is offered, I take two. Arlo’s Fish and Chips dishes up a 3 piece meal with fries for $12. Beyond that, they also offer cole slaw and clam chowder and based on their Facebook feed, an occasional fish taco plate. The whitefish is lightly battered then fried, crisping it without overdoing it with too thick a crust. Dip a piece in the chunky tartar sauce and enjoy. A great lunch.

fish and chips food cart portland

Fish and Chips from Arlo’s

Arlo’s Fish and Chips is located on the north side of St. Johns and the food cart lot offers covered seating for everyone. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Fish and Chips meal with 3 pieces and fries – $12
  • Cole Slaw – $2
  • Clam Chowder – $4

Facebook: Arlo’s Fish & Chips
Twitter: @ArlosTruck

Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish

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fried fish food cart portland

Grandpa Jimmy’s

Location: NE 76th and Glisan
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11-2:30 and 4:30-8, Sat, 12-8pm

The Story: Been to the south lately? Enjoyed some fried catfish maybe? I haven’t and needless to say, I crave it. Lucky for me, I stumbled upon Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish, a new food cart over on NE Glisan serving up such delights.

Grandpa Jimmy’s opened only a month ago and according to the owner of the neighboring taproom, had been selling out daily. Yes, Grandpa Jimmy’s sits next door to Hillbilly’s Growler Fill Station, so you can pair your fried fish dish with a nice quaffable brew. Andre, the owner and chef of Grandpa Jimmy’s, has put together a great menu for the neighborhood. Baskets or dinner plates with either fried tilapia, halibut or catfish. A sampler is also available so one can enjoy all three. As for sides, try the deep fried okra or southern greens with smoked turkey. True taste pleasers.

On the cool, damp day I visited, fried catfish with fresh cut fries, tangy coleslaw and a dinner roll sounded just about the perfect lunch. With an IPA by my side, I dove in to the lightly breaded and boldly seasoned catfish which fell apart on the fork. Mix in a fry here and there and trail with the coleslaw. The perfect lunch for a Wednesday. I’ll definitely return for the sampler or maybe even the greens on the weekend.

fried fish food cart portland

Fried Catfish from Grandpa Jimmy’s

On Grandpa Jimmy’s Facebook, Andre has posted some weekly specials and a photo of him and Grandpa Jimmy, so beyond the printed menu, there will be other treats. NE Glisan is coming alive with new establishments every week, so next time you’re over that way, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Deep Fried Catfish – basket, $8; dinner, $12
  • Tilapia – $7/9
  • Halibut – $15/20
  • “Jimmy” Sampler – a piece of each fish – $13
  • The Jimmy Sandwich – choice of shrimp, tilapia, catfish or chicken – $6 or $9
  • Grilled Jumbo Prawns – $8
  • Sides range from $3-6

Facebook: Grandpa Jimmy’s

Big Fat Weiners

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Location: Mobile
Hours: Mobile

The Story:

Big Fat Weiners has returned with a truck and an expanded menu. I remember the day I visited their cart when they were downtown and one of the owners was dressed in a hot dog suit. Crazy. These days, the food truck is parked at an ever changing lot on NE 15th and Alberta and they have expanded the menu with almost 20 different options.

sausage food cart portland

Slow Roasted Brisket Dog

New to the menu – a slow roasted brisket dog with lemony horse sauce and fried coffee infused onion strings.

See our original story from 2010 below.

If you were walking down the street and saw a guy in a hot dog suit dancing in the sidewalk, what would you do? What would you do? Well, we stopped for a tasty dog. Newcomers to the Ash St Pod are David and Jason who opened Big Fat Weiners just down from Big A** Sandwiches. I see a mashup in the future.

Big Fat Weiners is a hot dog cart with attitude and a dash of hilarity. Along with the hot dog suit David had on, Jason was sporting a hot dog hat. Who can’t resist chatting these guys up and walking away with a dog. They differentiate themselves from other dog carts by offering up different options with their franks. You can get a dog with chipotle cream cheese and bacon; roasted garlic, mushrooms and Swiss; smashed avocado and Fritos and a few more interesting combinations. Fritos with avocado and a hot dog? That just sounds odd, but interesting and tasty!

I enjoyed a dog with smoked jalapeno cream cheese while my lunch mate had the roasted garlic with mushrooms and Swiss dog – topped with bacon. We hadn’t seen bacon as an option, so asked and were told, “we sometimes put bacon on everything.” Both dogs were enjoyable along with the colorful conversation with the guys.

David and Jason have the right approach and attitude to succeed in the cart business. They engage their customers, keep it light and offer a good product. They also have the chops to handle the late night bar crowd from the old town taverns. Big Fat Weiners is a mobile cart with a temporary tent. They are working on a more permanent structure that will allow them to be open even when it is windy and rainy. If you are down that way, drop on by Big Fat Wieners and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Facebook: Big Fat Weiners

Sample Menu:

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