Henry’s Diner

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breakfast food carts

Henry’s Diner

Location: Carlton, OR
Hours: Friday-Monday, 8am-2pm

The Story: If you make it well, people will visit from afar to partake in the craft. Isn’t that how it works? Why we drive an hour for a good beer or the best ice cream? Henry’s Diner in Carlton, smack dab in the middle of wine county, is off the beaten path for a food cart, but the dishes they create are worth the journey.

Joseph Zumpano had the urge to return to his roots. Having spent time in high powered restaurants in the east and having lived in Philadelphia for many years, the west, along with a McMinnville born wife, beckoned. The two landed in Carlton where Zumpano opened Henry’s Diner, named after his grandfather. Carlton is one of those cute little valley towns you may miss if you’re highway driving. But when you’re checking out vineyards in the region, it becomes a destination. I remember visiting Carlton in the 80’s for a famous pizza size hamburger. That restaurant burned down and Henry’s Diner is now in the spot with plenty of seating, both covered and not.

breakfast food carts

Philly Breakfast from Henry’s Diner

Joesph’s menu focuses on breakfast, but on the hearty side. I remember the breakfast my grandparents made with everything under the sun put on a plate that was more like a platter. They were farmers, so eating a big breakfast was key. Joseph hails from Philly, a working class city, and his plates overflow with goodies. Fried Jersey Pork Roll anyone? What about scratch biscuits and gravy? For me, it was the Philly Hot Breakfast. Something about seeing pork scrapple on the menu drew me in.Scrapple is scraps of pork stewed with cornmeal and shaped into loaves for slicing and frying. An east coast treat. Joshua sources both his scrapple and Jersey pork roll direct from the east coast. A large plate with potato hash, bacon baked beans, three eggs, toast and scrapple. Sitting there in the sun with the Carlton grain tower peering down, I had one of the best breakfasts I’ve enjoyed in a long while. A simple slice of toast layered with a bit of runny egg and some scrapple brought a smile to my face that didn’t leave until I finished off my coffee. This cart is the real thing.

Henry’s Diner also offers pancakes, coffee and you can mix and match a breakfast with eggs, bacon, biscuits etc. A great breakfast cart with all the trimmings. Next time you’re headed to the beach or taking in some of the bounty the Yamhill County has to offer, drop on by the only food cart in Carlton – Henry’s Diner. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • The #7 Breakfast Sandwich – fried Jersey pork roll, Tillamook cheddar, potato hash and 2 fried eggs on toast – $8
  • The Breakfast Burrito – 3 eggs, potato, cheddar, peppers, onions and house salsa-  choice of bacon, sausage or veggie – $8
  • Henry’s Scratch Biscuits and Gravy – $10
  • Perfect Pancake Breakfast with 2 eggs your way and choice of meat – $10
  • Philly Hot Breakfast – $11

Facebook: Henry’s Diner

Sam’s Saj Mediterranean Sandwiches

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mediterranean food cart portland

Sam’s Saj

Location: SW 10th and Washington
Hours: breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays

The Story: Portland continues to attract some unique dishes from different parts of the world. Sam’s Saj, a food cart at the 10th and Washington pod focuses on a unique Mediterranean sandwich called the Khubz.

Mediterranean food cart portland

Kafta Saj from Sam’s Saj

Sam and Diala took over a former Thai cart last fall and did a total remodel. Sam wanted to offer up a handmade dish different than the other Mediterranean options in the lot. The Khubz is a sandwich, but seems like a mix of a burrito and maybe a crepe. The Saj griddle is the key to making this flatbread. Growing up, Sam remembers the circular convex griddle being heated by coals. In Portland, that wasn’t possible, so Sam had a griddle handmade in order to utilize propane. I always say, Portland’s DIY culture leads to some tasty creations. The flatbread is grilled and then topped with cheese or Zaatar or labne, a yoghurt cheese. Once cooked up, they roll it all up to enjoy. Breakfast options can include Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh mint or maybe Nutella, banana and toasted hazelnuts. For lunch, I picked up the kafta with seasoned lamb and beef along with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. The flatbread is thin and flavorful, creating a great envelope for the savory kafta and fresh veggies.

Sam’s Saj opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so no matter when you arrive, Sam and Diala are there to make you a treat. I have visited twice and the second item I enjoyed came with Zaatar, a blend of herbs and spices that will blow your mind. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Zaatar – $4
  • Cheese and Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers and mint – $4.75
  • Labne and Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and green olives – $5
  • Turkey and Cheese – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, mayo, mustard – $5
  • Kafta – $7.75
  • Lamb Shawarma – $9
  • French Fries – $3.50
  • Cauliflower Saj – crisped cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cumin vinaigrette – $6

Facebook: Sam’s Saj

Olé Latte Coffee – PSU

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Ole Latte PSU

Ole Latte PSU

Location: SW 5th and Harrison
Hours: 
Mon-Fri, 7am-5pm; Sat/Sun, 8am-4pm

The Story: Todd, barista extraordanaire, has expanded his coffee business with a new cart down by Portland State University. Ole Latte can be found right on the MAX tracks on SW 5th, he joins 2 other vendors and serves up an amazing espresso. Drop on by next time you’re in the area.

Facebook: Ole Latte

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

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Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday

The Story: I’m a child of pizza. I can’t tell you how pizza was so integral in the enjoyment of my childhood and teenage years. Portland had the thin crust pizza covered, but when I visited Chicago, I was introduced to the deep dish style. Thick, a new food cart on SW 9th and Washington, brings Chicago style pizza to the streets of our fine town.

Thick opened a few months ago and was selling out daily immediately. First time I visited, just after 1pm – totally sold out of slices and making a couple of suit-clad businessmen their own personal pie. Michael Cline is the man behind the pizza. A Chicagoan by birth, Michael saw Portland was lacking in his favorite cuisine, so decided to open the cart. He crafts everything from scratch including the house made Italian sausage, and pies are fresh made daily.

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

A Chicago deep dish pie is exactly that – deep dish with thick crust. A standard pie takes almost an hour to bake, so Michael makes a specific number of pies each day and when the slices sell out, that’s it. You can pre-order a pie though, so don’t fret.  I picked up a slice of handmade Italian sausage – Michael heated it up and handed me a small box which weighed a couple of pounds. While stalwarts may pick it up, I used a fork and knife to enjoy every last bite. Buttery crust acted well as the base layer topped first with Mozzarella then the sausage, and crushed tomatoes. The sausage was spot on and cheese in every bite made for a great lunch.

Thick Deep Dish Pizza is also open for breakfast, so if you’re coming into town early, feel free to stop by for local ham, melted onions, and Comte cheese encased in a classic buttery pastry crust. Sounds good to me. If you do want your own pie, be sure to call ahead and give Michael some time. All good things take time and patience. Drop on by for a thick slice of ‘za and let Michael know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Homemade Italian Sausage-  $5/slice
  • Spinach – $4/slice
  • Whole pies available

Phone: 630-697-6581
Facebook: Thick Pizza

Bridgetown Bagel Company

Lizzy Caston

Bridgetown Bagels1

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy – Rose City Food Cart Pod
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-1pm; Sat & Sun, 8am – 2pm

The Story: I call it the collective “Portland Bagel Freakout”.  I’m not quite sure why, but out of all the cities I have lived, worked in, and visited (and there have been many), Portland rivals only NYC and Montreal for what can only be described as a love of good bagels that borders on crazy zealously. That is, Google “bagels Portland, Oregon” and you’ll see countless, passionate (and sometimes uncivil) discussions on who has the best bagels in PDX, lamentations that Portland “has no real bagels”, cries for “I wish we had authentic bagels here!”…you get the idea. Mike Russell, the food critic for the Oregonian, sure found out about the Portland Bagel Freakout when he dared write about “Portland’s Best Bagels”. Check out these reader comments from that article for a chuckle for a chuckle. The message is clear: DON’T MESS WITH PORTLAND’S BAGELS. Portlanders will cut a biche over a bad, or even a mediocre bagel. It’s a BAGEL WAR.

So when a great bagel does appear on our fair streets of Bridgetown, people get a whole bunch of excited. Enter Bridgetown Bagel Company. Created by owner/baker Jonathan Park, an alum from the much loved, now sadly gone Kettleman Bagels, Bridgetown does the bagel right.

I won’t make claims this is THE BEST bagel in Portland (I’m not up for that knife fight). For I’ve learned, them there’s fightin’ words among Portland’s bagel cabal (that’s a joke, people). However, if you are looking for a very quality, fresh bagel of the East Coast style made they way they should – yes they are boiled, yes they use malt, yes, they are golden on the outside and dense and chewy within, yes, they aren’t super sized like some Godzilla bastard bagel – then Bridgetown Bagels is for you.

Bridgetown Bagels 3

Along with the usual cream cheese spreads, Bridgetown bagel offers the classic bagel and lox combo (with tomato, sliced red onions, and capers if you wish), breakfast and other bagel sandwiches.

I do want to give one big caveat about Bridgetown Bagels. And it’s no dis on them. Bridgetown, like most food carts is a small (read TINY) operation run by one person. He’s the one up at 2 in the morning making and proofing dough, cooking them just the right way, preparing and serving and cleaning up. And because Portlanders are such Bagel Hoarders, it’s hard to gauge from day to day how many crowds will show up and when and if they will buy the cart out on the spot. If you really really have your heart set on a bagel from Bridgetown, as we recommend here at Food Carts Portland for any cart visit, CALL AHEAD. Although they are consistent with their hours, Bridgetown can’t snap their fingers and make new bagels in 15 minutes if they have a rush and run out, and I bet you they’d rather close down than serve a crappy frozen and defrosted bagel. And so, when Bridgetown runs out, they run out for the day.  They are often sold out by noon, especially on weekends.

Still, as the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, get out your cell phone, call ahead, get there early and enjoy a Bridgetown Bagel before a bonkers bagel band of Portlanders beats you to it.

bridgetown2

Sample Menu:

  • Bagels: Plain, Sesame, Poppy, Garlic, Onion, Salt, Everything. Each – $1,   ½ Dozen- $5.50    Baker’s Dozen- $10
  • Spreads: Cream Cheese (Plain, Scallion, Smoked Salmon) – $1,  Tofutti, Hummus, $1,  Butter, $0.50
  • Cheeses: Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Mozzarella – $1,
  • Veggies: Lettuce, Red Onions, Black Olives, Pickles, Capers- $0.25, Tomatoes – $0.50, Avocados: -$0.75
  • Meats – Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Salami, Pepperoni –  $1 Lox: $6, Whitefish: $4
  • Breakfast Sandwich –  Egg & Cheese Bagel: $3, add meat: $1
  • 3 Little Pigs Sandwich (Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Cheese, Egg) – $5
  • The Bridgetown Sandwich (Ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, provolone, black olives, pickles, tomato): $7
  • Pizza Bagel: 1 Topping: $5  add topping – $0.50/each

Website: Bridgetown Bagel

Phone: (503) 268-2522
Facebook: Bridgetown Bagel

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