503 Burger Co.

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burger food cart

503 Burger Co.

Location: N Mississippi and Skidmore, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11-5; Thurs-Sat, 11-5 and 8pm-2am; Sun, 11-5

The Story: “I am an FBI Agent!” One of the best lines from Point Break. Also, the first thought I had when seeing the menu at 503 Burger Co, a new food cart at Mississippi Marketplace.

A few years back, North Portland was blessed with some great burgers out of food carts at Mississippi Marketplace. Hand crafted with love. 503 Burger Co. has brought back the thunder and I thank them. The 503 opened quietly in July. I happened across them on a jaunt through to see who’s new. (You may remember a few vendors closed at the Marketplace, providing new opportunities for others.) A cool cabin like cart serving burgers and tots. What’s not to love? The menu at 503 harkens back to the age of my youth with burgers named Thunderdome or Road House and even Maverick. On my first visit, I picked up the Johnny Utah with Tillamook cheddar, bibb lettuce, pickled onion, tomato, ketchup, and a smokey chipotle aioli served on a brioche bun. Clean, straightforward, uncomplicated. Divine! Second visit – Back to the Future – a simple burger with cheddar and all the fixin’s. Both burgers sated my cravings and have brought me back. Portland is in a giant burger phase where everything but the kitchen sink is added to the patty. While flavorful, they are just over the top. At 503 Burger Co, the burger was untroublesome, flavorful, a bit messy, without adding pork belly or pickled eggplant. They realize you don’t need all that schtuff to make a great burger. Add tots or maybe event a shake, 503 Burger Co. has it all.

burger food cart

Burger, Tots, Beer

I’m excited to welcome a great burger vendor to Mississippi. If you’re a burger fan, it is in your interest to visit and check out 503 Burger Co. Heck, go twice. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Back to the Future – ketchup, mustard, Tillamook  Cheddar, bibb lettuce, pickles, brioche bun – $8
  • Road House – pepperoncini cream cheese sauce, fried leeks, butter lettuce, tomato, brioche bun – $8.50
  • Thunderdome – beef and pork patty, bacon, Gorgonzola, arugula, BBQ sauce, brioche bun – $9.50
  • Maverick – Munster, arugula, caramelized onion, truffle aioli, brioche bun – $9.75
  • Tots – $2.50

Website: 503Burger.com
Facebook: 503 Burger Co.
Instagram: @503burgerco

Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers

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bbq food cart portland

Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers

Location: SE 72nd and Flavel
Hours: Weekdays, 10am-10pm; Weekends, 10am-2am

The Story: Got an email the other day about a new pod out in SE Portland. A few food carts had opened and the neighborhood has been showing them some love. Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers brings BBQ to the lot.

Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers is the second cart for owner Chio and his business partner Teddy. The first cart, Blazin’ Ribs and Teriyaki opened earlier this year in SE Portland out off 161st and Division. The new cart here on Flavel is focusing on BBQ and Burgers. Chio has been working on his BBQ craft since childhood. Growing up in NE Portland, every Sunday after church, a friend’s grandfather would host a cookout and Chio would sit there and ask questions and learn the tricks of the trade from the elder statesman on how to make the best smoked ribs. Teddy brings a bit of the south with him, having family in southern Arkansas. The team understands the value of fresh ingredients along with signature flavors.

bbq food cart portland

Ribs and Fries from Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers

The menu offers up teriyaki chicken, fish n’ chips, a whole array of burgers with any topping you can imagine along with BBQ ribs. I knew before even before I arrived ribs would be my meal, but was excited to see the vast array of burger options. I’ll need to return for one. After ordering, Chio set out to hand cut the fries. He learned it early on that was the best tasting fry. I wouldn’t disagree. The ribs were top notch. A little smoky, a hint of sweet from brown sugar and the meat came off the bone so easily. I didn’t ask for the secret recipe, but I think someone mentioned Dr. Pepper in passing. Pretty amazing stuff. And for $8, this plate of ribs, fries and garlic bread is a steal. They do half and full racks to go. And a testament to their craft, a visitor from California arrived while I was there, returning for a rack after having enjoyed the ribs the previous day.

Blazin’ Ribs and Burgers is just what that area needed. Coming up 72nd from Johnson Creek, I noticed a lack of eating options and Chio and Teddy confirmed they stay busy throughout the day and on weekends into the night. Location is key. If you’re down that way, drop on by for some ribs or a burger and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Ribs w/Fries and garlic bread – $8
  • Teriyaki Chicken with rice and salad – $7.50
  • Fish n Chips – $7
  • Applewood BBQ Burger – $6.50
  • Chili Cheese Burger – $6.50
  • Blazin 1/2 lb double buffalo burger – $9.50
  • Buffalo Style Boneless wings – $7.50

Facebook: Blazin’ Ribs

Smak Dab’s

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Burger Food Cart Portland

Smak Dab’s

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy – Rose City Food Park
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11-7; Sun, 12-5

The Story: When you have a dream, sometimes nothing can stop you. Chris had the dream to open a food cart for over 15 years and now Smak Dab’s has launched with their gourmet stuffed burgers.

Chris has a background in the restaurant industry having worked for more than a few large restaurants over the years. The food cart scene just wasn’t as vibrant in the first part of the last decade, so Chris put the plans on hold, but kept the dream alive. The cart, located on NE MLK at The Fusion food cart pod is one of a few who have opened thee in the past six months. That pod has always housed food carts offering a range of cuisines ever since I moved into the neighborhood almost 17 years ago. Now, with a formal name, a covered deck and a quorum of vendors, I think NE MLK has a viable street food scene.

Burger Food Cart Portland

Tres Hombres from Smak Dab’s

Smak Dab’s focuses on stuffed burgers. Many call them the Juicy Lucy after a famous midwestern chain. Chris has his own twist. The patty includes bread crumbs among other goodies to add some cohesion as he forms it around the ingredients. The surprises are inside. Take The Calzone for example – pepperoni, mozzarela cheese and marinara all grilled inside the patty. Just imagining that first bite elicits a stomach growl. The Tres Hombres was for me – jalapenos, olives, jack cheese inside with quacamole atop. At first site, I thought maybe the burger was a bit burned, yet that first bite countered the visual. The patty, with the extra ingredients comes with caramelization throughout – a sweet, salty and for the Tres Hombres, spicy delight. Fresh lettuce and tomato create a cool tasty friction to the stuffed burger. Overall, a well done sammy.

Smak Dab’s has an impressive menu with six stuffed burger options. The day I visited, Chris also had pulled pork on the menu. Design your own if you want, he’ll make it happen. There is plenty of covered seating on site and they offer vegetarian options and GF buns. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Smak Dab’s moved to Rose City Food Park in June of 2014]

Sample Menu:

  • The Smak Dab – patty stuffed with swiss and served on toasted bun with chimichurri spread and bacon sriracha onion ring – $9
  • The Calzone – $8
  • The Lisa – vegetarian black bean patty with chimichurri spread – $7
  • Lamb of Gouda – lamb mix stuffed with smoked gouda – $10
  • Tres Hombres – $9
  • Steak Fries – $3
  • Cajun Pot Stickers – $6
  • Bacon sriracha battered fried pickles – $5

Facebook: Smak Dab’s

PDX Sliders

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PDX Sliders

PDX Sliders

Location: 8064 SE 17th, north of Tacoma
Hours: Tus-Thurs, 11am-7pm; Fri/Sat, 11am-close; Sun, 12pm-close

The Story: College introduced me to peers from around the country. I remember a friend asking if I wanted to grab a slider. I honestly had no idea what a slider was and no where in McMinnville offered them, so Safeway sold us ground beef and rolls and we set out to make sliders in the dormitory kitchen. Burned and not that flavorful, a new memory was born. Nowadays, sliders are everywhere and in all shapes and styles. A new food cart – PDX Sliders – is bringing their take on the little burger to southeast Portland.

Ryan Rollins, like many who have dove into the food cart scene in the last few years, had another career in another industry before taking the leap into food service. Granted, his tenure at Dairy Queen as a teen may have stoked the entreprenurial spirit. Ryan’s family, including his wife, have worked or owned businesses in the food industry, creating a support structure for Ryan. The slider concept came about after some time seeing restaurants creating bigger and bigger burgers. Further, there are few businesses who solely focus on the mini-burger. Ryan wanted to do the opposite. Ryan’s wife’s culinary education came into play when crafting the menu and weekly specials come about with the help of friends who both work in the cart and at local restaurants. Truly a collaborative effort between friends and family.

Sellwood Slider from PDX Sliders

Sellwood Slider from PDX Sliders

At PDX Sliders, Ryan and team craft everything from scratch daily. Ryan proudly proclaims they don’t have a freezer. Fries are fresh cut every morning. You can taste the freshness in the burger. On the menu, you find traditional sliders along with cart crafted gems. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the Broadway with braised pork, Mamma Lil’s peppers, baby arugula and house maid spicy aioli on a ciabatta bun. Not traditional, yet amazing. On a recent visit, I picked up the Sellwood, a burger with bacon, Beechers Flagship Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce and aioli served on a brioche bun. A juicy, messy treat on a cool winter day. At the prices they charge, why not pick out a couple. There is something for everyone on this menu. The St. Johns is a marinated portabella. The Ross Island, a house-made black bean chipotle patty. Burgers are cooked to medium doneness and you can swap out bread for butter lettuce if you want to make it gluten free.

PDX Sliders is a great addition to the street food scene here in Portland. Located in the Sellwood neighborhood, this is one vendor I hope will expand north. Open every day except Monday for both lunch and beyond, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up some nosh. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Sliders are $3.50; Fries, $2

  • Sellwood – burger, bacon, Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce on brioche bun
  • Hawthorne – burger, bacon, goat cheese, strawberry preserves on brioche bun
  • Steel – two burgers, bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, aioli on brioche bun
  • Burnside – house made meatballs, roasted romas, Mozzarella on ciabatta bun
  • Ross Island – house made black bean chipotle patty, pepper jack, butter lettuce on brioche bun

Phone: 971 717 5271
Website
: PDXSliders.com
Facebook: PDX Sliders
Twitter: @PDXSliders

Comfortably Yum

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Get Stuffed

Comfortably Yum

Location: SW 4th and Hall
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11:15-5pm

The Story: We have great burgers in this city, so how does one differentiate itself from the others? Comfortably Yum, a food cart down by PSU, has chosen to create a well made burger with a rustic bun and high quality ingredients – just what the doctor ordered.

Comfortably Yum opened this past summer, but had to close for a period of time after a kitchen fire. Now they have re-opened and the father, son and friend team are slinging away. Bob, the father, runs the window. Andy and Michael run the grill and prep the goods. Bob was great to chat with, a retiree helping out where he can with the right attitude a cart owner needs. Trust me, he’ll make you laugh. The goal is a simple, high quality product. “Dazzle them with quality.” Take a rustic bun from Grand Central and use an 80/20 chuck for the burger and you sold me. While I appreciate add-ons, they sometimes mask the quality of the burger as a whole which is why I’m there. At Comfortably Yum, they put everything together just right for this burger fiend. Red leaf lettuce, tomato, ketcup and mayo. That first bite, with a bit of burger juice dripping down my chin, was magical. The bun impressed me, different than many burger buns I’ve enjoyed and I would highly recommend it. For burger fans, you need to visit, not only for a hamburger made with passion and care, but also for the witty repartee from Bob.

Burger from Get Stuffed

Burger from Comfortably Yum

Comfortably Yum is situated in the middle of the lot on SW 4th and Hall. They are planning on renaming themselves this winter, so we’ll update the post when that occurs. While I didn’t try them, I understand the hand cut fries in rice oil are the bomb. Drop on by, say hi and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Grilled Cheese  – $2.75
  • Grilled Cheese Club – $4.75
  • Burger – $5; add cheese, $1
  • Toppings – $1.50 – bacon, guacamole, mushrooms
  • Hand cut fries – $1.50

Facebook: Comfortably Yum

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