Location: N Lombard and Burr @ Kruger
Hours: Check Facebook for updates on hours

The Story:

Portland is one of those cities where most people have come from somewhere else. For everyone living here, that means they also bring their passions for the regional food they either grew up on or crave daily. For Chowdah, it is authentic New England clam chowdah.

I visited Chowdah down in Sellwood on the anniversary of their being open for a year. Located in the Astro Jet Carwash lot at SE 17th and Tacoma, [Chowdah moved to N Lombard in 2013] Chris, the owner and chef, has had the New England spirit to present his food without the support from an organized lot. Few carts can pull this off and strike out on their own, but those who do prove they have the skills to garner followers. These carts also have some of the best food in town. That being said, in the last week of February, Chowdah will be moving to SE 13th and Lexington in Sellwood.

New England Clam Chowdah

New England Clam Chowdah

Chowdah has a menu full of delights including cheesesteak and grilled cheese sandwiches you can craft to your liking. The star of the menu for me was the New England Clam Chowdah with plenty of clams, taters and bacon. Made from scratch daily it is one of those dishes you taste once and don’t put your spoon down until you’re finished. There was a peppery undertone that mixed well with the creaminess of the soup. I just with he were closer to my home so I could get it more.

I’m glad Sellwood has embraced Chowdah and supported Chris for the last year. Moving to the new location will introduce more to his signature soups and sandwiches and showcase his winning attitude. Head on down to Sellwood and give Chowdah a try. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Chowdah moved to N Lombard and Burr in June 2013]

Sample Menu:

  • New England Clam Chowdah – cup, $3; bowl, $5
  • Soup of the day – cup, $3, bowl, $5
  • Cheesesteak Sandwich with all the fixin’s – $6
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich with your choice of cheese – $3; add meat for $1

Hours: Tues-Wed, 11-8pm; Thurs-Sat, 11-9pm
Phone: 503 867 2475
Facebook: Chowdah

Che Cafe

Che Cafe

Che' Cafe

Location: 7316 N Lombard at Kruger Farm Stand
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 9am-7pm; Fri/Sat, 9am-9 or 10pm; Sun, 9am-8pm


North Williams street has become a new nexus of activity in North Portland. With in the influx of restaurants, salons, a dessert place and a brewery, it was only a matter of time before a food cart opened. And where it opened is important. The space where Che Cafe is located is right next to a 1935 building where you have indoor seating. The development, by the developer of Portland’s most green building – The Heritage on NE MLK – is perfect for Portland’s unpredictable weather.

Che Cafe is Ryan and Terri’s dream. Both love dogs, simple as that. Why talk about dogs? Well, throughout the years, Ryan and Terri have had four amazing dogs – Nikai, a husky who was active and free spirited; Che’, a large Princess Shepard who loved to lounge; Riley, a senior Shepard mix who appeared to have “doggy Alzheimers,” but was happy and kind; and then Sadie, a senior border collie mix who was very attached, loving and affectionate. All of these dogs had an impact on Ryan and Terry and they want Che’ Cafe to provide neighbors the same love and devotion those dogs showed them throughout the years.

Pulled Pork from Che Cafe

Pulled Pork from Che' Cafe

I visited Che’ Cafe with some fellow food cart enthusiasts. We were all ready for the weekend and indulged in our personal weaknesses. A couple of pulled pork sandwiches over here, a burger over there and even a black bean burger for the vegetarian of the group. Each of the dishes came with crunchy fries and homemade ketchup.

Bubby Burger from Che Cafe

Bubby Burger from Che' Cafe

I enjoyed the half pound Bubby Burger. A monster of a burger, it came with crispy fried onions and cheddar cheese. The burger is exactly what I was craving and it was cooked just right. The seasoning was spot on – you could tell this was good ground beef mixed with spices and made into a patty by hand. The crispy fried onions were an added bonus.

The added bonus to this cart is the building next door. They offer up indoor seating for those wet and rainy days or even for those who don’t want to take their food and go. Inside the 1935 redeveloped building is a coffee cart and restrooms, along with a performance space called the Analog Lounge (i.e. no cell phones or laptops.) When you get over to North Williams and you see this bright red cart named Che’ Cafe, stop on by, have some great American food and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Cart moved to N Lombard in May 2012. Hours have changed and expanded menu can be found at]

Sample Menu:

  • Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with grilled cheese sandwich – $6
  • Mr. Riley’s Sake Mac & Cheese – macaroni tossed with 3 cheese sake sauce, topped with fried onions and served with garlic bread – $6
  • Caprese Capellini – capellini tossed with garlic tomato oil, fresh tomatoes and basil topped with fresh Parmesan and served with garlic bread – $7
  • Fu fries – tofu lengths fried to a crisp and served with sweet and spicy sauce – $5
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich – dry rubbed pork cooked til it falls apart sauce with homemade BBQ sauce on an onion bun – $7
  • Meatloaf sandwich – homemade meatloaf smothered with sharp cheddar cheese – $8
  • Half Pound Bubby Burger – burger topped with aioli served on onion bun with all the fixins – $7

Hours: Tues-Thurs, 9am-7pm; Fri/Sat, 9am-9 or 10pm; Sun, 9am-8pm
Phone: 503 477 0322
Twitter: CheCafePDX
Facebook: Che Cafe PDX