Matt’s BBQ

bbq food cart portland

Matt’s BBQ

Location: 4709 NE MLK Blvd
Hours: Wed/Thurs, 11-7; Friday, 11-6

The Story: BBQ, an American past time. In the last decade, BBQ has become as artisan and lauded as fusion or French cuisine with chefs opening BBQ restaurants throughout the country. No longer is it needed to travel to Austin or Kansas City or Asheville to find good Q. It may be in a food cart like Matt’s BBQ here in Portland.

Matt’s BBQ is located on NE MLK Blvd between Prescott and Alberta in the parking lot of H&B Loan. Unless you’re looking for the cart, you may miss it tucked in the back of the lot with a couple of picnic tables and umbrellas. The travel-trailer-turned-food-cart, completely gutted and remodeled by Matt himself, isn’t necessarily where the magic of the Q happens. The offset smoker behind the cart with slow burning oak creates the Texas style scents and flavors. A menu of brisket, ribs, sausage and sides like slaw, potato salad or pinto beans is pretty affordable compared to local BBQ restaurants. Instead of repeat visits, I ordered “The Whole Shebang.” The entire menu for $16. A bargain in my opinion. Brisket- bark with a salty delightful cruch, the meat with fatty bits there for a reason just melted away at every bite. Ribs – dry-rubbed and smoked came with a hint of pepper. Sausage – juicy and fatty, paired well with the added white bread. Honestly, I was there for the BBQ, not the sides, yet Matt surprised me. The pinto beans and potato salad, scratch made, showed Matt took pride in every bit of his menu. Rarely do I praise sides at a BBQ joint, but Matt nailed it.

BBQ Food Cart Portland

The Whole Shebang from Matt’s BBQ

If you’re as much a fan of smoked meats as I am, you should make a pilgrimage to Matt’s BBQ in NE Portland. He’s becoming known in the community, so keep an eye on his Facebook page as he may sell out earlier than posted hours. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Brisket Plate with 2 sides – $12
  • 1/4 Rack of Ribs with 2 sides – $11
  • 2 Sausages with 2 sides – $10
  • Brisket sandwich with coleslaw – $7
  • Chopped rib sandwich with coleslaw – $6
  • The Whole Shebang – $16
  • The hot Mess – chopped brisket, sausage, pickled jalapeno sandwich – $9
  • Sides – $2.50

Facebook: Matt’s BBQ

Kingsland Kitchen


sandwich food cart portlandLocation: SW 5th and Oak
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11-3pm

The Story: I love crowns. Something regal about them that reminds me of childhood games. When I spied the new food cart Kingsland Kitchen with both a crown in the logo and a vintage EAT lighted sign, I knew a sandwich was in my future.

Kingsland Kitchen opened earlier this year at the SW 5th and Oak pod with a menu of sandwiches inspired by the owner’s British heritage. Christopher and Holli are the team behind Kingsland Kitchen having met more then a few years ago in Hollywood and spent the last nine in England. Both were always inspired by food and drink and with travels in England and Europe were able to experience what the world had to offer street side. They had the dream to return to Holli’s home town Portland and open a cart and voila, they succeeded. The cart ended up being a full remodel, which is good, so now Christopher knows how to fix things in a pinch.

sandwich food cart portland

Mumbai Spice Chicken Sandwich from Kingsland Kitchen

The ubiquitous Sandwich. We all love them. The cart focuses on meat-centric sandwiches all cooked from scratch. They also run daily specials and cart made desserts, something found less and less often at the downtown food carts. The menu is chalk full of ingredients that make up each tantalizing creation – Guinness braised beef;  pork meatballs; crackling; spicy pineapple salsa; chutney. I picked up the Mumbai Spiced Chicken with papadum, pickled cucumber and tomato salsa and raita all on a French roll. Papadum is a thin crisp food from India or Pakistan and raita is yogurt seasoned with a mixture of coriander, cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, and other herbs and spices. Put those two together with the spicy chicken and salsa and you have one hell of sandwich. The French roll held up to its calling with flaky goodness. Everything about this sandwich is a score. I can’t wait to return for the other offerings.

Christopher and Holli have added another gem to the street food options for Portland. Open Monday through Friday for lunch, you have no reason not to visit. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Guinness Braised Beef, slaw, house pickles, smoky salsa roja, French Roll – $8
  • Mumbai Spice Chicken – $8
  • Cart made organic beef and pork meatballs, marinara, Mozzarella, French roll – $8
  • Traditional British Banner or bacon, fried egg, roasted tomato and mushrooms, brown sauce, French roll – $8
  • Full English Breakfast  – $10

Facebook: Kingsland Kitchen


Sam’s Saj Mediterranean Sandwiches

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

Bing Mi!

chinese food cart portland

Bing Mi!

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Mon-Friday, 7:30am-3pm; Saturday, 11am-4pm

The Story: While Portland has some great Chinese restaurants, Chinese cuisine has not made much inroads into the street food scene. A couple here and there, but with the proliferation of Chinese throughout the American landscape, one would think a food cart would be another foray. The owners of Bing Mi! thought just that. A food cart focusing on a unique Chinese dish.

Bing Mi! opened earlier this year with their single dish, the Jian Bing, ubiquitous street food from northern China. Similar to a crepe and using the same tools, the owners create a unique wrap which includes scrambled egg, black bean paste, chili sauce, pickled vegetables, green onion, cilantro, and a crispy fried cracker. They first spread out the crepe mix on a circular griddle and drop an egg atop which then scrambles before adding the additional goodies. The end result is crisp and crunchy with the fried cracker adding texture. You can order it mild, medium or spicy (about a Thai 3.) Truly a savory treat and just the right size for $6. The spicy and savory mix of egg and black bean paste along with the bite of pickled veggies create a great treat for a sunny walk in downtown.

Chinese food cart portlandBing Mi! is open for breakfast and lunch throughout the week and lunch on Saturdays. Located on SW 9th, just north of Alder, the cart is right in the middle of food cart heaven. If you’re looking for something fresh and new, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Jian Bing – $6

Twitter: @Bing_Mi

Dog Town Food Cart

hotdog food cart portland

Dog Town Food Cart

Location: SE 28th Pl. and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30pm-9:30pm

The Story: When discussing the history of Portland’s street food scene, there is a time around 2007 or 2008 where the cuisine offered at the carts shifted. More international, more fusion, chef driven items and gourmet. In downtown, you can no longer find a simple hotdog. Reindeer sausage, yes. But not a cart focusing on a good old fashioned hotdog done well. I’m glad to find Dog Town Food Cart at Tidbit focusing on the dog.

hotdog food cart portland

The Sonoran

Dog Town starts with a handcrafted hot dog or artisanal sausage and then creates magic. They bake their own buns, make their own pickles and condiments and use only the highest quality, local ingredients. Each bite showcases the care. A hotdog can be simple with a bun, a steamed or grilled dog, ketchup and mustard. I love it. No frills. Yet, sometimes one needs to get a bit crazy and break out of the norm. Dog Town has you covered. The Rocky Balboa, a Philly Cheesesteak Dog. The Memphis, slow cooked bbq pulled pork atop an all beef dog. Farmer’s Daughter – a veggie sausage with romesco sauce, grilled leeks, shaved fennel, arugula and pickled red onions. Something for everyone. I picked up the The Sonoran, a traditional delight out of the state of Sonora in northern Mexico. Bacon wrapped all beef dog with refried beans, salsa verde, avocado cream, grilled onions, and pico de gallo served in made to order fry bread. So beautiful, I didn’t want to eat it. I wanted to preserve it for my mantle. But alas, my cravings took over and I devoured it. Crisp salty bacon, a solid dog. Spicy salsa and the bitterness of cilantro. Every bite, a treat. Made me want to get a second.

Dog Town is located at Tidbit Farm and Food in SE Portland off Division. The lot offers up covered heated seating and a beer garden. Beyond the dogs, Dog Town does offer fried chicken along with house made lemonade. Open for lunch and dinner and weekends, there isn’t a reason for you to not check them out. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Return of the Mac – Mac ‘n Cheese Dog – $5.95
  • Sonoran Dog – $5.95
  • Rocky Balboa – $5.95
  • Farmer’s Daughter – $5.95
  • Getz Yourself a Beer – Beer bratwurst, sauerkraut, grilled onions, spicy mustard – $5.95

Twitter: @Dogtownpdx
Facebook: Dog Town Food Cart