Southern Belles

Southern Belles

Southern Belles

Location: N Lombard/Burr – Kruger
Hours: Wed-Fri, 12-9pm; Sat, 3pm-1am

The Story:

St. Johns has had a tumultuous relationship with food carts over the last few years. An attempt at a pod failed a couple of years ago and many of those vendors moved on. A strident few stuck around and two have even become a restaurants. Now, a new model – pair the carts with a bar. The Fixin’ To at the entrance of downtown St. Johns now hosts two vendors – Southern Belles and Pizza Contadino.

Southern Belles is the newest cart in North Portland, having opened in late 2012. With a focus on comfort food, they are quickly becoming famous for their Brunswick stew and Cheeseburg Chowda. Known for Soups, Salads ‘n Such, the southern-style inspired cart is the work Nancy Petersen and Darlotte Justice, a couple of North Carolinians. But they have traveled and lived elsewhere, so their menu may not be completely southern every day.

The day I visited, I picked up a half an egg salad sandwich and beef barley soup – a hearty lunch for a cold day. It reminded me of a plate I would have a grandma’s house in Minnesota. I just needed a cup of hot cocoa to round out the memory. The egg salad on white fit well with the hot beef soup full of vegetables and barley. A great pairing for a hungry boy.

Southern Belles is now open Tuesday-Saturday and you can bring your food into The Fixin’ To and enjoy a beer or cocktail while you eat. Head on up to St. Johns for a visit, enjoy some of what Darlotte and Nancy have to offer and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Soups-  Beef Barley, Chicken Noodle, While Chili – 8oz, $3; 16oz, $5
  • Sandwiches – Egg Salad, Turkey Cranberry – 1/2 sand with soup – $5; full sandwich – $5
  • Hot Baked Potato with fixin’s – $4

Phone: 971 253 0939
Facebook: Southern Belles

Velas Cart

Velas Cart

Velas Cart

Location: N Lombard and Burr
Hours: Daily, 11am-7pm

This guest post was written by Scott Batchelar, a regular at many of the carts throughout the city. Thank you Scott.

The Story:

“Welcome to Velas, how are you tonight?” says Mario Vela the owner and chef of the Velas food cart as I walk up to this small food cart pod which includes a Kruger’s Farm Market and Captured by Porches Microbrewery.

In Portland we have close to fifty Mexican Food Carts and for me the trick is finding the gems at each cart. I looked over the extensive menu of Mexican and American foods at Velas and asked Mario for some advice on what his favorite dishes are. He immediately recommended his chicken mole even though I am still perusing the menu to see what else looks promising. My eyes settle on the empanadas and after asking some questions I order both a beef empanada and the chicken mole.

Chicken Mole from Velas Cart

I sit down in the Captured by Porches Bus for a tasty and filling meal. I especially liked the tenderness of the chicken and authentic mole sauce that Mario makes fresh daily as well as the delicious topping of pico de gallo. Add to that the cheese in small cubes he placed on the moist and delicious beef empanada as a bonus.

Velas is open daily from 11am to 7pm. They have an extensive menu of Mexican and American foods including tacos, burritos, tortas, sopes, empanadas, memelas, garnacas, tamales as well as numerous Mexican and American drinks and burgers. With the Captured by Porches bus, you can sit inside out of the rain and even enjoy a cold microbrew. Velas is a great addition to this small but intimate pod. If you drop in let them know Food Carts Portland and Scott Batchelar, the unofficial Food cart King, sent you.

Sample Menu:

PLATES: (with rice & beans)

  • Pollo En Mole (chicken mole) $6.00

BURGERS: (With fries or potato salad) $6.00

  • Velas (jalapenos, tomatoes, onion, pepperjack cheese)
  • BBQ (grilled onions, bbq sauce, cheddar cheese)
  • Garlic Mushroom (mushrooms, swiss cheese)
  • Chili (green chile, onions, provolone cheese)
  • Cajun Chicken Sandwich (marinated chicken, pepperjack & chipotle mayo on foccacia bread


  • Tacos (pastor, steak, chorizo, chicken, lengua) $1.50
  • Burritos (pastor, steak, chorizo, chicken, lengua) $5.00
  • Tortas ((pastor, steak, chorizo, chicken, lengua) $5.00
  • Sopes (chicken or beef) $2.50
  • Empanadas (chicken, beef, chicharron) $2.50
  • Memelas (beans, salsa, sour cream, queso fresca) $2.00
  • Garnachas (red sauce, potatoes, onion, beef) $2.00
  • Tamales (Veracruz Style – Chicken) $1.95


  • Mexican – Jarritos, Horchata, Sidral, Jamaica, Sangria, Tamarindo, Jumex $1.50
  • Domestic – Pepsi, Fanta, Diet Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Root Beer, Mt Dew, Coke $1.00

Hours: Daily, 11am-7pm
Phone: 503 754 2904