WBX Meat Wagon

burger food cart portland

WBX Meat Wagon

Location: 2401 NE Argyle
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-1:30pm

The Story: Most food carts are born of a long simmering desire or skill. Some concieved based on family recipes or traditions. And then there are the carts created to build and promote a brand. WBX Meat Wagon is the work of Western Boxed Meats and feeds the many in and around the industrial area of NE Portland.

Over the years, numerous corporations have utilized the food cart or food truck model to promote the brand or build customer loyalty. A few years back, the State of Wyoming parked a food truck in Pioneer Courthouse Square to give out “Buffalo Chips,” heavy chocolate chunk cookies. Come to Wyoming, see buffalo. The WBX Meat Wagon is a full service food cart and kitchen dishing up everything from salads to pasta dishes, sandwiches and burgers. The purpose here isn’t just the food, but to showcase the brands that the company Western Boxed Meats works with. Why not? You never know who your customer may be.

burger food cart portland

Double Bypass at WBX Meat Wagon

Since the cart is named the Meat Wagon, I ordered the Double Bypass Burger. Honestly, I misread the menu and didn’t realize I had just ordered 2 1/2lb burgers with bacon and cheese. Holy crap that’s a big burger. But at $7, I just halved it and, boom, lunch and dinner. Juicy, cheesy, bacony. Everything one needs for a solid lunch.

WBX Meat Wagon offers up a great option for breakfast and lunch for industrial NE along with turning the food cart model around to promote Western Boxed Meats’ products. A win-win for all. Next time you’re up that way, stop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
burger food cart portland

Facebook: WBX Meat Wagon
Twitter: @wbxmeatwagon

Mahi Taco

fish taco food cart portland

Mahi Taco in Portland

Location: NE 7th and Killingsworth at Piedmont Station
Hours: Mon-Wed, 12-3; Fri-Sun, 12-8:30pm

The Story: Piedmont Station continues to impress with their selection of street food vendors. With the addition of Mahi Taco, Portland can now enjoy Hawaiian style fish tacos from a food cart.

Mahi Taco plates up Hawaiian comfort food with a nod to Baja with grilled fish tacos and a few Hawaiian favorites. Upon arrival, the ubiquitous crossed surfboard logo sold me. A grilled flour tortilla is the base with cabbage, pico de gallo, lime sauce and Colby cheese as toppings. Mahi Taco offers grilled Mahi, chicken, kalua pork or fried avocado. With a nod to Hawaii, I picked the plate lunch with two Mahi tacos, a side of cilantro lime rice and mac salad. For $8, a generous plate of food. The tacos didn’t disappoint with charitable pieces of grilled Mahi superbly enveloped with cabbage, pico and sauce, I feasted. I’m excited to return one day to devour the kalua pork sliders.

fish taco food cart portland

Mahi Tacos from Mahi Taco

Mahi Taco is located at Piedmont Station on NE Killingsworth. The lot offers covered and heated seating, a kid’s play area and Le Tap, pouring beer, cider and wine. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu: 
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Facebook: Mahi Taco
Twitter: @MahiTacoPDX

Burger Stevens

burger food cart portland

Burger Stevens in Hillsdale

Location: 6238 SW Capitol Hwy in Hillsdale
Hours: Daily and Weekends 11am-7pm

The Story: Everyone loves a good simple burger right? Portland loves burgers so much they dedicate an entire week to celebrate the meat and bun magic. Burger Stevens opened last year and serves up one of the city’s best burgers from a food cart.

Burgers don’t need three patties and foie gras. Burgers should be crafted with a solid toasted bun, condiments, a grilled beef patty and cheese. Adding bacon and vegetables like lettuce, tomato and pickles adds to the experience. Burger Stevens creates a simple, yet delectable burger the likes many restaurants in town have lost sight of. Don Salamone launched the food cart in 2015 to showcase simple burgers with simple ingredients at the right price. An example is the bun. Many burgers in town showcase an artisanal bun which sometimes works, but often doesn’t. Don chose the simple locally made Franz bun we all grew up with.

Burger food cart portland

Burger Stevens

The burger may seem small to those of us watching the ongoing arms race of doubles, triples and 1/2lb Kobe burgers that dot the scene. Yet that is what perfection is. The grilled patty gets the perfect char and melted cheese then topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles. I added on fresh grilled jalapeños to up the ante and wasn’t disappointed. The bun won me over, holding everything together and offering a bit of toasted butter tastiness to the entire sandwich. Oh, and isn’t that a cute burger?

Burger Stevens is located in Hillsdale in the SW Hills of Portland next to Wilson High School. In a lot that hosts four food carts and covered seating, Don put together the ideal menu for the neighborhood. Next time you’re in the area, drop on by for a burger and maybe some soft serve and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Burger food cart Portland

Menu at Burger Stevens

Facebook: Burger Stevens
Twitter: @BurgerStevens

Arlo’s Fish and Chips

fish and chips food cart portland

Arlo’s Fish and Chips

Location: N Chicago and Ivanhoe in St. Johns
Hours: Friday-Tuesday, 12-8pm; closed Wednesday/Thursday

The Story: Portlanders have discovered St. Johns. The north Portland neighborhood is a hidden gem of dive bars, restaurants, kitsch shops and food carts. On the corner of N Chicago and Ivanhoe, one block off Lombard, a new cart lot hosts 4 vendors vendors including Arlo’s Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips were always a treat for me as a child. Thick beer battered chunks of white fish dipped in the most mayonnaisey tarter sauce my mom could make. I loved it and even today, when tarter sauce is offered, I take two. Arlo’s Fish and Chips dishes up a 3 piece meal with fries for $12. Beyond that, they also offer cole slaw and clam chowder and based on their Facebook feed, an occasional fish taco plate. The whitefish is lightly battered then fried, crisping it without overdoing it with too thick a crust. Dip a piece in the chunky tartar sauce and enjoy. A great lunch.

fish and chips food cart portland

Fish and Chips from Arlo’s

Arlo’s Fish and Chips is located on the north side of St. Johns and the food cart lot offers covered seating for everyone. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Fish and Chips meal with 3 pieces and fries – $12
  • Cole Slaw – $2
  • Clam Chowder – $4

Facebook: Arlo’s Fish & Chips
Twitter: @ArlosTruck

Pastrami Zombie

sandwich food cart potland

Pastrami Zombie Food Truck

Location: 5427 NE 42nd and Killingsworth
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-7, Sunday, 11-4

The Story: To execute an iconic sandwich in this town, you need attitude. Pastrami Zombie crafts one of the best pastrami sandwiches in Portland and they do it in a food truck.

Pastrami Zombie was born in Ashland by Melissa McMillan who garnered national attention for her restaurant Sammish. Opened in 2016, the food truck found a home at NE 42nd and Killingsworth in the lot next to Pollo Norte restaurant. Melissa, a die hard Chicago sports fan, wears the colors proudly and will engage on the subject with anyone listening. I had the joy of watching the Cubs win a World Series game with Melissa and it was exciting to see her passion. That passion is shown in the sandwiches she creates.

sandwich food cart portland

Pastrami Sandwich from Pastrami Zombie Food Truck

Pastrami Zombie, by namesake alone, knows their beef. The pastrami is Montreal style with beef brined for a few days, smoked with oak, then thick cut. The sandwich – two slices of Grand Central rye with thick cut pastrami, Swiss, slaw, dressing and for mine, mustard – is a beast and delight. Melissa crushed it. Each bite, a mess of beef, slaw, dressing dripping down your chin. A sandwich you’ll dream about returning for.

Pastrami Zombie is legit. The menu isn’t only pastrami. The Zombie also dishes up tuna, a burger and grilled cheese along with daily specials. Enjoy a beer from Pollo Norte while you dive in. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu on Website

Website: PastramiZombie.com
Facebook: Pastrami Zombie

Carter’s Cart

bbq food cart portland

Carter’s Cart on HWY 30

Location: 5885 NW St. Helen’s Road, Out off HWY 30
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm

The Story:

Smoke meats get me excited. BBQ. Pulled Pork. Ribs. Brisket. It takes a special talent and sometimes years in the smoke to master a good char and keep things juicy. Carter’s Cart out off Highway 30 is one of the few food carts in Portland serving up superb smoked meats.

Carter’s Cart is located in the parking lot of Anderson’s Roofing Company on HWY 30 between the industrial zone and St. Johns Bridge and offers up covered seating for you to enjoy your sandwich. The menu includes traditional smoked meat items like tri-tip, house rubbed pulled pork and brisket. Sides include salads, slaws and baked beans. On any given day, they offer up a rotating hot soup and even specials. Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi on a ciabatta was the special of the day I visited, but I opted for a more traditional sando, a Tri-Tip Cheesesteak. Carter’s cheesesteak arrives with smoke tri-tip chopped up and mixed with sautéed bell peppers and onions with melted Havarti atop. That glorious mix is then served on a toasted hoagie with chimichurri and Serrano aioli. Let the sandwich sit for a sec to let the Havarti pull everything together then dive in. The mix of the herb heavy chimichurri, spicy Serrano aioli AND smoked beef is divine. A great find.

bbq food cart portland

Tri-Tip Cheesesteak from Carter’s Cart

Carter’s Cart is open Tuesday-Friday from 10-6pm and offers covered seating so you don’t have to return to the office so quickly. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tri-Tip Cheesesteak – $8 or $10 with sides
  • Carter Cubano – smoked pork, pickles, mustard aioli, spicy capicola and Havarti grilled on a hoagie – $8 or $10 with sides.
  • Sides – $2 – Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Side Salad, Cucumber Salad
  • Full Menu on Website

Website: CartersCartPdx.com
Facebook: Carter’s Cart

October Food Cart News

Here are some updates on Portland’s street food scene:

If you haven’t ventured beyond your favorite food cart pod, there are some new ones that have grown into their own this summer and solidified their spot into Portland’s pod map:

    • Piedmont Station – NE 7th and Killingsworth – Opened in 2015, this lot now hosts 10+ food carts, covered seating and Le Tap, a beer cart with numerous craft options
    • Killingsworth Station – NE Killingsworth and Maryland – the lot here was built in 2014, but never got traction until now. 6 vendors including Salvadoran, Vietnamese, Mexican and Hungarian
    • Kenton Pod – NE Denver and Interstate – this pod, owned and managed by PDC is brand new with 3 vendors including old favorite Killa Dilla
    • Grubbin at Ankeny Square – W Burnside and 9th – a challenged park is now a food cart pod. 2 food carts and a community space
    • NE MLK and Beech – Newly finished, but no food carts as of yet
food cart news

Hungaricana at Killingsworth Station

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Some closures to note:

  • Beech Pod on N Mississippi – Gabagool and Tiffin Asha have closed their carts to move into restaurants. MF Tasty moved to N Williams and Failing
  • Central Eastside Food Cart Pod – closed for development
  • Thick Deep Dish Pizza closed downtown and moved into a food truck. You can find ChicagoLand roaming the streets of Portland serving up Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza

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The Portland Mercado, one of Portland’s best food cart lots with a purpose, suffered significant vandalism this week, shutting down 7 of the 10 food cart and causing approximately $25,000 in damage. The Mercado is a beacon of community development with brick and mortar spaces, a commissary kitchen and vendors selling everything from Peruvian to Cuban to Michoacan and more. A destination spot for many. If you are a fan, plan a visit this week to support the lot and the vendors. They will reopen.

On Wednesday, it was reported that a number of vendors at Carts on Foster were also vandalized. If you have any information about either of these incidents, please contact the Portland Police.

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Thank you for your continue support of Portland’s street food vendors.

Pause Japanese Bistro

japanese food cart portland

Pause Japanese Bistro

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11-7; Sunday, Noon-6pm

The Story: Portland offers up some amazing treats from street food vendors around the neighborhoods. Every so often though, a true gem arrives with something new and refreshing. Pause Japanese Bistro may be this summer’s fresh gem, serving up light, refreshing Japanese bowls.

Pause Japanese Bistro’s menu is a variety of bowls from Chirashidon to Yakisoba to Yasaidon, all with fresh vegetables and leafy greens and your choice of tuna or tofu.  So, what are these? The best way to describe it is a large bowl of love. A bed of white or brown rice topped with greens, chopped vegetables and tuna, either raw or seared. Their own signature sauces top the bowl – Wasabi Soy, Korean Chili, Spicy Mayo, Sweet Chili, Teryaki or Tamari. The Chirashidon bowl I chose –  a mix of spinach and romaine, julienned carrots and red cabbage and topped with raw tuna with the Korean Chili sauce. A salad bowl with rice. Brilliant. Also, for $8, it is a huge and satisfying portion for anyone.

japanese food cart portland

Pause Japanese Bistro

Pause is the work of Chef Hyeyeon who lived in Japan and learned how to craft these dishes from her grandmother. Now, Portland gets to enjoy her creations. Pause is located at Rose City Food Park, one of the city’s amazing pods with numerous vendors and a beer garden. Recently, they expanded to downtown with a cart at SW 10th and Washington. Next time you’re in for a treat, give Pause a try and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu

Facebook: Pause Japanese Bistro

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