Clackamas County is getting its first food cart pod in the coming months. The Happy Valley Melting Pot will be located at SE 145th and Sunnyside Rd in Happy Valley and is being designed and built to support up to 26 food carts on site. I love it when developers see an opportunity to create vibrant community space and employ street food. A 4000 square foot Pavilion on site, heated year around, will host 3 carts – Beer & Wine, Sweet & Treats, Coffee & Smoothies – along with 23 food carts enclosed in a food cart pod. A 400 square foot kids play area inside the Pavilion will offer children’s & adult games, free Wi-Fi and much more. Enjoy some street food while the kids wear themselves out. The feel of the large garage doors on the Pavilion will make you feel like your in the Pearl District mixed with Bend, Oregon.
Koi Fusion, A Cajun Life, Mojo Crepes, Operation Wings, Esan Thai and Sok Sab Bai are a few of the carts already signed up! Even Krispy Kreme has expressed interest. They are looking for community carts to add a twist to Happy Valley.
From the photos and the design layout, this pod will be a draw, not just for the immediate surrounding community but for Portlanders out for an adventure. The owners are currently soliciting food carts, so if you’re looking for a new home, please contact them at 541-419-7253 and speak with Valerie Hunter. All utilities are part of the infrastructure. No more having to dispose of your grey water offsite. Utilities except electricity included in the rent. Three onsite bathrooms along with a substantial parking lot, the pod is landscaped with ambient lighting and more!
Clackamas County may end up with the nicest food cart pod in the Metro area.
More details about the Happy Valley Melting Pot can be found on their Facebook Page.
Planned Hours of Operation: Monday- Thursday 10-8pm; Friday – Saturday 10-9pm; Sunday 12-5
Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday, 11-3; Friday and Saturday, 12-9. (check Facebook for latest hours)
The Story: Need something fresh, vibrant, natural, locally sourced and made with care? Juniper, a new food cart in downtown Portland opened earlier this year to focus on just that.
Kashi, Lizz, Elena, Francesca and Summer are the five amazing women who make up the team behind Juniper. Four of them came together at Portland State University while working together at Food for Thought, a student-run collective cafe. The focus of their collective dream is to create their own cafe and wellness space and center on the love of food and the passion for full body health. The cart is just the first step in realizing that goal. With a menu of gluten free and vegan eats, you can’t get much healthier than that. Also, these women have the chops to pull it off. In a recent Portland Monthly Magazine article, Molly Woodstock detailed their collective resumes. Francesca once ran a vegan fudge company. Yumm!
The menu at Juniper speaks volumes about their passion for food and flavor and diversity. Handhelds include a portobello melt with grilled marinated portobello, smoked cashew provolone, sweet onion jam and arugula served on toasted house gluten free bread. Or try one of Mains – the Country Plate with ‘chicken’-fried breaded tofu, daily mashed vegetables, daily greens, seasonal veggies, and mushroom white wine herb gravy. I chose the Five Spice Noodles. Having just returned from SE Asia, I wanted to continue my culinary exploration and broaden my palate. Bulgogi-style grilled soy curls are served atop vegetable and vermicelli noodles with sake-marinated king oyster mushroom ‘scallops.’ All of this is ensconced in a five-spice broth with greens, cilantro, lime and a house made chili oil. The soy curls, bulgogi style, along with the shrooms added the savory and umami flavors while the veggies, thin sliced carrots and cucumber added crunch and sweetness. The broth, that five-spice infused magic offered hints of cinnamon and anise. Every little taste had me questioning – “What’s that new flavor?” There are some great bowls out there at the carts and this one from Juniper ranks among the best for me.
Juniper is located on the Washington side of the 3rd and Washington food cart lot downtown. Open for lunch and on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner also, they regularly have daily specials and rotating daily greens selections. Beyond food, they offer hot or cold tonics and other beverages. Like I sad, a diverse and dynamic menu. Drop on by next time you’re in the neighborhood and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu: full menu on website
- Harvest Bowl – daily mashed root vegetables, daily greens, dahl – $5
- Five-Spice Noodles – $8
- Country Plate – $9
- Portobello Melt – $7
- Southern Italian Sammy – herbed breaded tofu, cashew basil ricotta, red pepper orange relish, caramelized fennel and onion – $7
- Tonics- $3
- Sides – Smoky Mac, Daily Greens, Seasonal Vegetables – $3-5
Location: SE 28th Pl and Division – Tidbit
Hours: Tues-Sat, 12-2pm and 5-8pm
The Story: It began in 2008. After a few pizza carts, John Eads decided sandwiches to be his next adventure and opened Pyro’s Wicked Wiches, a food cart focusing on iconic sandwiches of the Americas and beyond.
Seven years ago, Portland’s first pizza cart downtown arrived at 5th and Stark. Give Pizza a Chance introduced us to great quality pizza made from locally sourced goods for a fair price. After a few years, John decided to focus on Italian wood fired pizza, so built a few ovens and eventually opened Pyro Pizza at Cartopia, Portland’s famous late night pod in southeast. The pizza out of those ovens were an immediate success and allowed John to grow the company with a second wood fired oven at Tidbit and now a sandwich cart. Since the beginning, John believed that good ingredients make good food. Simple as that. Flour from Shepherd’s Grain, Pepperoni from Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, blue cheese from Rogue Creamery, seasonal produce from Gathering Together Farm or Eat Oregon First. Even the sodas are handmade.
At Pyro’s Wicked Wiches, the focus is on iconic sandwiches – The Cuban, A Turkey Melt, A Grilled Cheese. Yet, each has been hand crafted in John’s mind and kitchen. The ABC Melt, a take on the traditional BLT, comes with avocado, bacon, white cheddar cheese, cabbage, spinach and tomato and served on a toasted sesame bun. Being a huge fan of the BLT, I dove in. The bun was the best part, creating a burger like sandwich my paws could wrap around. Fresh greens, crisp bacon, cool tomato and I’m sold. Even the house made chips were fresh and top notch. A new twist on an old classic.
Pyro’s Wicked Wiches is at the Tidbit Farm and Food on SE Division. Beyond the sammies, the cart offers soup and house made sodas and even cookies. Next time you’re in the area, drop by for a treat and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu – All Sandwiches $10 and come with chips or soup
- The Cuban – roasted pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, mustard and mayo on a hoagie – pressed
- Turkey Melt – smoked turkey with melted Swiss Cheese, cabbage, spinach, onions, cucumber and tomato with cranberry aioli on sourdough bread
- ABC Melt
- Grilled CBS Sandwich – cheddar, brie, Swiss melted on sourdough with cabbage, tomato and sriracha vinaigrette
Some Food Cart News for your June.
Big-Ass Sandwiches announced they are closing their cart June 11 after five years and a few locations. Currently at Carts on Foster, the owners Lisa and Brian announced last month that they had secured a location on NE Glisan for a full brick and mortar Big-Ass Sandwiches. The menu will stay the same with a bit of expansion along with beer and cocktails. Watch for a grand opening in June. Keep up with the transition details at their website. If you’re shopping for a cart, their’s is for sale.
New Pods in the works:
- Surfing Craigslist, I spied a new pod on NE Killingsworth just east of MLK. Piedmont Station is built out and the owners are currently seeking vendors. More details.
- SW Waterfront looks to be getting a food cart pod. I had heard rumors of one close to Zidell yards on SW Moody and Eater confirmed that Scout Beer Garden looks to open a new location down there. Look for a spring/early summer opening.
- Over on NE 42nd, just south of Killingsworth, Pollo Norte has constructed space for multiple food carts. Kim Jong Grillin’ is one of the first to arrive. If you’re looking, 503 4732 4127.
- A new pod has popped up at SE 72nd and Flavel if you’re looking for a spot for your cart.
Some Food Cart changes:
- Drove by SE 50th and Division the other day and venerable vegetarian Mexican vendor Los Gorditos was gone. And so was the building they had called home for so many years. Lucky for us, they are moving the truck down to Powell. Los Gorditos also has multiple restaurant locations throughout the city to get your fix. Los Gorditos
- Salmon Fusion quietly closed and was rebranded by its owner Roger Mumm as Rajah’s Hawaiian. Still on SW 3rd and Washington, the cart focuses on the Hawaiian food Roger grew up with and there are still a couple of salmon dishes available.
- Gonzo Falafel closed their cart in May to focus on their Hummus line. You can find their product at local stores along with visits to are Farmers Markets. Gonzo
- Lower East Side Deli has closed
- Ugarit – A Taste of Syria, one of the oldest vendors at SW 10th and Alder has announced their retirement after 10 years and is selling the cart. A prime location for the perfect concept. Ugarit
- Juniper – SW 3rd and Washington
- Petit Panda – SW 9th and Washington
- Mumbo Gumbo – SW 9th and Washington
- Back to Eden Bakery at Tidbit on SE 28th pl and Division
- Casablanca Cuisine on SW 3rd and Washington
- Atlas Scoops in Sellwood
- Slow Squeeze Juice at Tidbit
- Korita Sabor Casero – Salvadoran – NE MLK and Jarrett
- The Fusion Box on SW 4th and Hall
- Anything’s Pastable – Cartlandia on SE 82nd
- Best Taste of India – Cartlandia
- The 9 – Indian – Central East Side Food Cart Pod
Hope you’re enjoying your spring. Keep on supporting Portland’s dynamic street food scene.
Big Fat Weiners has returned with a truck and an expanded menu. I remember the day I visited their cart when they were downtown and one of the owners was dressed in a hot dog suit. Crazy. These days, the food truck is parked at an ever changing lot on NE 15th and Alberta and they have expanded the menu with almost 20 different options.
New to the menu – a slow roasted brisket dog with lemony horse sauce and fried coffee infused onion strings.
See our original story from 2010 below.
If you were walking down the street and saw a guy in a hot dog suit dancing in the sidewalk, what would you do? What would you do? Well, we stopped for a tasty dog. Newcomers to the Ash St Pod are David and Jason who opened Big Fat Weiners just down from Big A** Sandwiches. I see a mashup in the future.
Big Fat Weiners is a hot dog cart with attitude and a dash of hilarity. Along with the hot dog suit David had on, Jason was sporting a hot dog hat. Who can’t resist chatting these guys up and walking away with a dog. They differentiate themselves from other dog carts by offering up different options with their franks. You can get a dog with chipotle cream cheese and bacon; roasted garlic, mushrooms and Swiss; smashed avocado and Fritos and a few more interesting combinations. Fritos with avocado and a hot dog? That just sounds odd, but interesting and tasty!
I enjoyed a dog with smoked jalapeno cream cheese while my lunch mate had the roasted garlic with mushrooms and Swiss dog – topped with bacon. We hadn’t seen bacon as an option, so asked and were told, “we sometimes put bacon on everything.” Both dogs were enjoyable along with the colorful conversation with the guys.
David and Jason have the right approach and attitude to succeed in the cart business. They engage their customers, keep it light and offer a good product. They also have the chops to handle the late night bar crowd from the old town taverns. Big Fat Weiners is a mobile cart with a temporary tent. They are working on a more permanent structure that will allow them to be open even when it is windy and rainy. If you are down that way, drop on by Big Fat Wieners and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: Big Fat Weiners
Location: NE 15th and Alberta
Hours: Thursday, 12-8pm; Friday/Saturday, 12-9pm; Sunday, 12-8pm
The Story: Local Fare, Indian Flair. Portland, welcome Desi PDX, Alberta’s newest Indian food cart.
Deepak Saxena opened the cart earlier this year with a focus on food inspired by Indian spices and flavors while keeping it local and organic and committing to everyone’s indulgences. At Desi PDX, you can get gluten-free, paleo and vegan. Raised on traditional Indian fare, Deepak eventually fell in love with cooking in this 20’s. After a first career in IT, the food cart became the next adventure. Inspired by Eric Schlosser’s work Fast Food Nation, he changed his own eating habits and continues to work at cooking more sustainably which is reflected with the menu at the cart.
Let’s talk food. Deepak has both a la carte options or bowls. Every week he has a rotating “pulse of the week,” which is a selection of organic bean and lentil dhals. How does spicy cabbage salad with shredded coconut, chillies and mustard infused oil sound? Or maybe a Pakora waffle made with spicy garbanzo beans. I chose the cardamom chai chicken. One pound of Mary’s free range drumsticks are tea brined and tea steamed then fried in organic sunflower oil. A coconut sugar chai glaze is added then finished with toasted cardamom and Jacobsen salt. Whew! So many different flavors and ingredients go into creating this dynamic and vibrant chicken. I knew Indian cuisine’s diversity of flavors and spices, but these drumsticks were off the charts. I can only imagine what the other dishes present. I’m excited for a return visit, maybe with a friend so we can order multiple dishes and share.
Desi PDX offers up a diverse menu of treats for everyone and brings up specials almost daily, so follow them on Facebook for updates. Desi PDX is a great addition to the street food scene here in Portland. Drop on by next time you’re up on Alberta and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu – full menu on website
- Cardamom chai chicken – $7.25
- Chana masala belly – tamarind-ginger braised carton farms pork belly – $7.50
- Pulse of the week – $3.75-5.75
- Belly Bowl – pork belly, fried rice, chutney, pickles, salad – $10
- Vegan thali – pulse & rice, slaw, chutney, pickles, salad – $11
- Chicken bowl – chicken, fried rice, chutney, pickles, salad – $9.75
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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