Location: SE 45th and Stark at Belmont Station
Hours: Mon-Sun, 12-9pm
The Story: Yo, cheesesteaks are for tourists! Those are the first words I remember hearing from the owners of The Italian Market almost a year ago. Hailing from the city of brotherly love, the owners Erin and Andrew bring south Philly street food to Portland.
I first met Erin and Andrew over a year ago and learned of their plans to relocate to Portland and jump into our ever evolving street food scene. Coming from Philadelphia, a food city in its own right, they wanted to bring those flavors without the schtick we all associate with the cheesesteak. I’ve been to Philly and yeah, you can find a cheesesteak on every corner, but there is so much more to eat and The Italian Market will show you. It has been a long year for the two from the move and building a food cart and securing a location. But now, in April, they are open and slingin’ sandwiches at Belmont Station, a venerable bottle shop known by many who took out their old kitchen in order to welcome a mobile vendor. A new welcoming patio was also constructed so you can enjoy your sandwich inside out of the rain with a beer.
Erin and Andrew have done their time in kitchens and know enough about their craft to know the bread for a sandwich is key. Last summer, they flew out here with a suitcase of different types of bread from Philadelphia and visited all the best bakers in town to see who they could partner with to re-create some of those signature loafs. Dean from Allesio bakery took the samples and made magic in the Rose City, creating the different types of buns The Italian Market required. Speaking of sandwiches, they offer four different ones including an Italian pork, an Italian beef, a meatball sub and a baked eggplant sammy for the vegetarians in the crowd. After tasting samples of both the pork and beef, I choose the Italian beef brisket with roasted tomatoes, sharp provolone and horseradish on a seeded roll. Andrew threw some pepperoncinis in there for good measure. The roll held the ingredients together well and even soaked up a bit of the juices without becoming too soggy and falling apart. The horseradish and brisket mixed perfectly with the acidity of the tomato. Top it all off with sharp provolone and you have one excellent sandwich.
The Italian Market also offers salad and pretzels and can do Gluten Free buns, just ask. They source all their ingredients locally including their “east coast kale” – broccoli rabe. I tried a sample of the greens which melted in my mouth. I’m loving this new model of pairing mobile vendors with bottle shops and bars. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a bar and all they have to eat are warmed over hot dogs. An Italian pork sandwich sounds so much better with a local IPA. Find The Italian Market at Belmont Station daily from noon-9pm. Welcome them to our fine town and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Federal Sandwich: Italian Pork w/ sharp provolone and broccoli rabe – $8
- Ellsworth: Italian beef – $8.50
- Uncle Mike’s Meatball Sub – ground beef and pork simmered in red gravy w/ sharp provolone – $8
- Passyunk: baked eggplant w/ roasted peppers and fennel, homemade mozzarella and pesto – $8
- Tasker Salad: panzanella salad w/ crusty bread, cucumber, tomato, homemade mozzarella, onion and fresh basil with olive oil and balsamic – $5.50