Home Plate Sliders

Brett Burmeister
Home Plate Sliders

Home Plate Sliders

Location: varies, check Twitter for current location
Hours: varies, check Twitter for current hours

The Story:

Scene: Los Angeles streets, 2009 – Throngs of fans of the Kogi BBQ truck are ignoring their dates and watching Twitter to find out when and where the truck would show.

Scene: Kogi BBQ Truck Tweets they will show at the Golden Gopher and a mob of 200 beat them there.

This is how it played out early in the food truck revolution and still occurs in cities outside of Portland. We have the luxury of knowing where our favorite carts are on a daily basis. There are some trucks who roam and use social media to announce their location and Home Plate Sliders just joined the troop.

Stuartt Fox always wanted his own food truck and one day, while in St. Johns selling his beloved Harley, he came across a working food truck for sale. With cash in hand, it was one of those now or never moments, so he bought it on the spot and drove it home for his winter project. Stuartt has both a new school and old school approach to what he’s offering. With sliders for $3 and a baseball themed brand, it evokes memories of childhood for only a few bills. The rig though reminds me of those I have seen cruising down the freeways of LA or San Francisco. A bright red truck with a caricature baseball player logo on one side and a large home plate on the other. That home plate serves as the door to the serving window held up by two Louisville slugger bats when open. I see carts and trucks with great signage, but to take the branding to this level, Stuartt hit a home run.

Slider from Home Plate Sliders

Slider from Home Plate Sliders

Sliders! I hadn’t really enjoyed sliders until the last decade. It seems like chicken wings, a treat from a different region of the states, yet after that first bite, how could you go wrong with mini burgers. Stuartt makes his own patties by hand and grills them up fresh in the cart with a mini little toasted bun. Along the lines of the baseball theme, you can get the Ranger with BBQ cheddar and fried onions, the Philly with peppers, onions and provolone, the Giant with baby portobello mushroom and provolone or the Cub with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. I picked up the Yankee to honor my favorite club. A little bun with a great little beef slider, grilled pastrami and provolone. So much love at that first bite. The burger was cooked just right and the cheese melted all over everything.

He also plans to visit other types of industrial parks throughout the city and maybe even show up outside your favorite bar. He’s mobile and bright red. Follow them on Twitter @Homepl8Sliders or check out their schedule page on their website for current location and times. Find them, enjoy some sliders and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All sliders $3

  • Ranger: BBQ cheddar and fried onions
  • Philly: peppers, onions and provolone
  • Volcano: teriyaki, pineapple, lettuce
  • Yankee: pastami, provolone
  • Cub: lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion
  • Brewer: grilled cheese on Texas toast
  • Griant: baby portobello mushroom, provolone (v)
  • Dodger: large all beef hotdog
  • Louisville Slugger: spiral cut spud on a stick

Hours: varies, check Twitter or website
Phone: 503 96SLIDE
Website: HomePlateSliders.com
Twitter: @Homepl8sliders

Year of the Fish

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Year of the Fish

Year of the Fish

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Tues-Thur, 11:30-9; Fri, 11:30-12am; Sat, 12:30-12am, Sun, 12:30-8pm

The Story:

Out off Hawthorne in what many refer to as Stumbletown due to the number of bars, there is a new cart that is open late to sate those munchies you get after a few drinks – Year of the Fish. [Update 11/2011: Year of the Fish moved to SE 50th and Ivon]

Edward MacGregor opened Year of the Fish in September after being out of the restaurant game for a few years. Having grown up working in restaurants and subsequently owning them as a family business, he had taken a break from the grind, hoping to do something else. Well, the call of the deep fryer was too strong, but Edward didn’t want to do another restaurant, so decided on the cart. Locating at 47th and Hawthorne was also a strategic decision – an attempt to attract some of the crowds that line up to the few restaurant options in the area late night.

Tiger Prawns from Year of the Fish

Tiger Prawns from Year of the Fish

Year of the Fish is a fish and chips cart. With options including cod, red snapper and halibut, if you love fish, you’ll like love this cart. Edward offers traditional or gluten-free batter depending on your needs. What surprised me was the offer of tiger prawns. I love a good fish and chips, but to get batter fried tiger prawns raises the bar. Lightly breaded and crunchy, the prawns are delightful. You can get different sauces, but these are so flavorful, you don’t need it. Sided with a handful of steak fries, you have a great little snack.

Year of the Fish is now open for lunch and dinner weekdays and late night on the weekends. Drop on by for some well made fish and chips and other treats and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cod and Chips – $7
  • Red Snapper and Chips – $7
  • Halibut and Chips – $market rate
  • Tiger Prawns and Chips – $8
  • Clam Chowder – New England style – cup, $3; bowl $5
  • Just Slaw – $3
  • Just Chips – $3

Hours: Tues-Thur, 11:30-9; Fri, 11:30-12am; Sat, 12:30-12am, Sun, 12:30-8pm
Phone: 971 258 6567
Twitter: @YearoftheFish1
Facebook: Year of the Fish

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Philly’s Best

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Location: 3503 N Mississippi
Hours: weekdays: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Cheesesteaks, Pulled pork sandwiches, breakfast items. More information coming soon.

Phone: 5034773164

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The Burger Guild

dieselboi
The Burger Guild

The Burger Guild

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavillion
Hours: Tues-Sat, 12-9pm

The Story:

At some point, Portland became a burger town. Just last year, Willamette Week detailed the 50 best burgers in town which included some food carts. 2010 also introduce Portland to stuffed burgers and now we have our second cart offer such goodies – The Burger Guild.

Burgers and travel trailers go hand in hand and with The Burger Guild, the blue trailer that houses the operation is exactly what I would want as the kitchen for my burger maker. The Burger Guild opened in early July and already has a spot in one of Portland’s newest pods – Green Castle. Even after the first visit, the cart has moved to a more prominent position in the pod, indicating it’s immediate success. What makes The Burger Guild unique is that they stuff the burgers with ingredients like blue cheese, red peppers and onions or garlic and feta. These are great burgers with broad flavors.

Kalamata Mama

Kalamata Mama

The Kalamata Mama is a burger you would take home to mom. Using Cascade Natural beef, the burger is stuffed with red peppers, onions, garlic and feta cheese and then thrown on the grill. The whole shebang is put together well with a great bun, spinach, a mix named the Mata mix and some Burger Guild secret sauce. I gotta say – one of those burgers that is photo worthy. A stunning example of A) a unique way of creating a burger and B) an eye for presentation. That first chomp included the green flavors of the spinach with the juiciness of the burger and some overwhelming garlic tones mixed with the savory and warm flavors of the Mata mix. One juicy burger, don’t try to eat this on your lap. But if you do, its worth it!

The Burger Guild is now open at Green Castle on NE 20th and Everett with about ten other carts. There are tables there so you don’t have to sit in your cart with the burger on your lap. Drop on by, try one of their burgers and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Black and Blue: Cascade Natural ground beef stuffed with blue cheese, red peppers and onions and topped with lettuce, tomato and TBG secret sauce – $6.75
  • Kalamata Mama: burger stuffed with red peppers, onions, garlic and feta cheese, topped with spinach, “Mata” mix and TBG secret sauce – $6.75
  • Deep Fried Mushrooms – $5
  • Deep Fried Sliders – $4 or 2 for $7
  • Midwest Style Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – pork tenderloin breaded and fried and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mustard – $5.75

Hours: Tues-Sat, 12-9pm
Phone: 309 299 1377
Website: TheBurgerGuild.com
Facebook: The Burger Guild

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Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack

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Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack

Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont – Good Food Here
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 12-9pm; Fri/Sat, 12-10; Sun, 12-6pm

The Story:

When you say the name, Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack, it just rolls off your tongue as if you’ve said those words every day for the last few years. I’m pretty sure that is the first sign of a successful food cart.

It was a quiet day at the lot when we visited Cackalack’s which allowed me to have a great conversation with the owners, Jeff and Stephanie who moved to Portland from Ashville, NC in order to open their cart. It just took one visit in spring of 2010 to convince them that Portland was where they wanted to live. (Jeff even got one of those iconic state of Oregon with the green heart in the center tattoos on that visit.) The two aren’t newbies to food, having worked in restaurants and been around food for years. Their goal though was to bring well made crispy fried chicken to the masses for a reasonable price. Portland only has a few places doing real southern fried chicken and as restaurants, they charge a pretty penny for the experience. Jeff stated his recipe was inspired by a Memphis Nashville restaurant, Prince’s, which is known by many as a prime fried chicken haunt.

Hot fried chicken from Cackalack's

Hot fried chicken from Cackalack's

At the shack, you can put together a meal with numerous options for chicken including cuts, spiciness and sides. Start out with portions – breast, leg quarter or wings and then the heat – naked, mild, hot or XxX hot. Lastly, you can choose from either potato salad or cole slaw for your side. Each dish has the chicken served atop a slice of Texas toast with a sliced dill pickle. The leg quarter seemed the appropriate size to check out what they were cooking up and I wanted it spicy, but edible, so chose hot instead of XxX hot. Like I said, I wanted to enjoy it. The presentation was spot on with a large piece of chicken, battered and deep fried to create a thick spicy crust surrounding some excellent juicy meat – all atop a slice of white bread. I picked up the pickle first which was skewered atop the chicken and took a bite, immediately tasting the spice from the chicken – cayenne and habanero. My lips burned, but I kept going and took that first bite. Wow! So that is what southern hot chicken tastes like? The crust was crunchy, it burned my tongue, but in a good way; the chicken juicy and flavorful. For $6, it will sure to become a return trip when I get hungry. The chicken does take a few minutes to make and they do warn you about that when ordering, so be prepared to hang out and chat or relax in the covered seating area.

Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack opened in April as one of the first carts at the new Green Castle Food Pod. Head on down and welcome Stephanie and Jeff to Portland and try some of their hot chicken. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[update: Cackalack's moved to SE 43rd and Belmont in October 2011]

Sample Menu:

All chicken served atop a slice of Texas toast with a pickle slice

  • Chicken portions: Breast – $7; Leg quarter – $6; Wings – $5
  • Heat: naked, mild, hot, XxX hot
  • Sides – potato salad or coleslaw
  • Chicken and Dumplings – cup, $3.50; bowl, $5
  • The Blazer – boneless fried breast on a bun pickles, smokey slaw and garlic herb aioli – $6.50

Hours: Tues-Thurs, 12-8pm, Fri/Sat, 12-9pm
Phone: 503 388 1772
Website: Cackalackshotchickenshack.com
Twitter: @Cackalacks Facebook: Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack

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