Food Carts Portland – Burger Edition

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Burgers! Beyond the hot dog, the burger is true American cuisine. Some enjoy the fast food type, while others hit up Michelin star restaurants for dry aged beef burgers for $30. Here in Portland, we’re graced with a number of food carts who do amazing burgers, some even eclipsing the artisan burgers found at some of the restaurants around town. I’ve had many if not all of the burgers from the carts. I know, tough job. I love burgers. Here’s a list of where you can find some of the best burgers in town at food carts.

The Must Trys:

Burgatroyd

Burgatroyd

Burgatroyd – opened in 2011, this diamond plate cart at SW 2nd and Oak knocked it out of the park with their burgers. The original idea was build your own with a plethora of options, yet I think eaters more want to be told what to eat. The burger starts with a Fleur de Lis bun and burger from Highland Oaks Farm and then start adding items like calabrian chili aioli, deep fried jalapenos, sauteed mushroom, bacon, caramelized onions sauteed in butter and more. Truly a great burger.

Sideshow

Sideshow

Sideshow – A cart that started with only Belgian Fries and poutine now offers The Fancy Burger. 1/3lb Cascade Natural grass fed Kobe beef cooked with duck fat, a brioche bun, white cheddar and gruyere, arugula and white truffle mayo. SERIOUSLY! Can you get any more fancy than kobe beef or white truffle mayo? This is one over the top burger with dynamic flavors that make you pause and wonder why mom never picked up Kobe beef for burgers. And get this, the burger is only $9. SW 9th and Washington

Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen

Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen

Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen – Mississippi Marketplace welcomed Miss Kate’s over a year ago and the neighborhood has been loving their southern cuisine ever since. The Old Fashioned Cheeseburger is what you should order. Served on buttered Texas Toast, the 1/2 lb burger topped with cheese, creole aioli sauce, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and onions, this may be the burger you use a fork and knife with. I usually just pick it up, cradle it lovingly and dive in, only pausing to wipe cheese and aioli from the corner of my mouth. Enjoy it with a good German lager. N Mississippi and Skidmore

Euro Trash – A cart that started off serving calamari and chicken sandwiches has morphed their menu to include The Big Burger which you can add beer battered softshell crab. Yep, the Crabby Patty. The burger in and of itself is a work of art. With a pub bun from An Xuyen Bakery, Charles Thomas adds arugula, fresh cut onion and his signature Trashy sauce. Add in the perfectly deep fried softshell crab and some melted cheese and you have one unique and tasty burger. The crab is a seasonal item, so get it when you can. If you’re adventurous, try the burger with foie gras, Euro Trash has it. SW 10th and Washington

Over the Top:

The Grilled Cheese Grill – The welcome sign at The Grilled Cheese Grill states “Come by for a taste of your childhood. Unless your childhood sucked and then we’ll let ya have a taste of ours.” They have a school bus so you can get out of the rain and enjoy your sandwich. Beyond the grilled cheeses, they offer The Cheesus, a 1/3 lb burger topped with onion, lettuce, colby jack, ketchup, mustard and more put between their signature grilled cheese sandwiches. Served with chips. A behemoth of a burger. NE 11th and Albeta, SE 28th and Ankeny and SW 10th and Washington

The Brunch Box

The Brunch Box

Brunch Box – I think of Brunchbox as one of the first of the new breed of vendors to offer burgers in downtown. There were few options back in 2009 for burgers at the carts and Brunchbox nailed it. With a menu ranging from a simple burger to one with blue cheese or mushrooms or pineapple, there is something for everyone. If you’re hungry, you can opt for the YouCanHasCheeseburger, a burger with all the fixin’s sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches made with Texas Toast. Seriously, a true monster of a burger. SW 5th and Stark

Vegetarian:

While many vendors do offer a vegetarian option, these vendors go beyond the standard gardenburger.

DC Vegetarian – One of Portland’s best vegetarian carts, the Bacon Cheeseburger here will make you rethink meat. A cart made veggie burger with all the toppings with veggie bacon, I added avocado and vegan Daiya cheese. As a meat eater, I gotta say this is a great option if you want to get away from the beef. SW 3rd and Stark

Che Cafe – Not a vegetarian only vendor, this cart does make sure every dish they serve is well made. The Sadie Black Bean Burger is cart made from scratch and comes with your choice of toppings and cheese and aioli served on grilled onion bun. I love black beans, so putting them together in a burger with some fresh veggies is to die for. Located in North Portland at the Kruger Farm stand, you can enjoy either a meat burger or a veggie burger with a beer from Captured by Porches. N Lombard and Burr

The Burger Carts:

The Burger Guild

The Burger Guild

The Burger Guild – A stuffed burger. Think of all the goodies wrapped in ground beef and turned into a burger. That first bite – gooey blue cheese with fresh red peppers makes its showing. At this cart you can get almost anything stuffed in the burger and then flame grilled. The Kalamata Mama, one of my favorites comes with Kalamata olives, Feta, fresh red peppers and fresh garlic inside the burger. SE 50th and Division

The Angry Unicorn – Portland, built atop an ancient Unicorn graveyard! At the Angry Unicorn they mix Unicorn meat (bacon) with ground beef to create a pretty darn excellent tasting burger. Their traditional Unicorn Burger is served on a Voodoo donut with all the fixin’s. SE 52nd and Foster

Rockin’ Robyn’s Sassy Burger – The Pub Bun from Portland French Bakery makes the Sassy Burger special. Get one with lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper jack and maybe a fried egg and you’ll be in heaven. At the Rose City Food Park, it is the only burger cart in the area. Bonus points for sourcing their beef locally from a true butcher shop – The Original Steer Market. NE 52nd and Sandy

 

Home Plate Sliders

Home Plate Sliders

Home Plate Sliders – Sliders are awesome. Small little burgers so you can enjoy more than one! At Home Plate, with their baseball themed truck and menu, you can enjoy a simple slider or maybe a Yankee with grilled pastrami or a Philly with peppers and onions. Home Plate Sliders roams around to different locations during the week or comes to your favorite event.

Bro-Dogs and Burgers

Bro-Dogs and Burgers

Bro-Dogs and Burgers – Scott Smith, a veteran of the banking industry launched a simple cart a few years ago to serve gourmet sausage sandwiches. That led to an amazing following and growth to a food truck and the addition of burgers. The Dirty Burger is a handmade beef patty with bacon and cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and their signature ‘dirty’ sauce. Kinda of a messy little mess, but well worth it. Bro-Dogs and Burgers roams, so follow them on Facebook for their next location.

Kindle Kart – Known for their pizza, the Kindle Kart up in NW Portland also offers burgers. Owner and chef Kevin bakes his own brioche buns in the wood fire oven. The burger, double ground brisket with a bit of seasoning added, is pretty darn taste. I chose the Jalapeno burger with mixed greens, grilled onions, jalapeno sauce, a grilled chili pepper and cheddar cheese. NW 27th and Wilson

Timber's Doghouse PDX

Timber’s Doghouse PDX

Timber’s Doghouse PDX – Timber opened her cart focusing first on tater tot bowls, but grew the menu to offer a list of wonderful burgers. You can get a basic or a bacon cheeseburger or one with pineapple or mushrooms. Then again, you could enjoy “One Night in Bangkok” with a burger topped with a relish of bacon, peanut butter, sriracha and pickles. One unique take on the burger. SE 43rd and Belmont

The Egg Carton – A breakfast vendor by trade, they offer a breakfast burger with a sausage and beef patty, cheddar cheese, egg and bacon jam on a potato roll with lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, Dijon and bloody mary sauce. Bacon jam and bloody mary sauce? Oh yeah. And the potato roll works well with all the ingredients. Start your day off right with a breakfast burger. SE 52nd and Foster

The Egg Carton

The Egg Carton

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I know there are other burgers out there at the cart I may have missed. Let us know and we’ll add them to this list. Now, go enjoy a burger.

Che Cafe

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Che Cafe

Che' Cafe

Location: 7316 N Lombard at Kruger Farm Stand
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 9am7pm; Fri/Sat, 9am-9 or 10pm; Sun, 9am-8pm

Description:

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 checafepdx.com]

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, 9am7pm; Fri/Sat, 9am-9 or 10pm; Sun, 9am-8pm
Phone: 503 477 0322
Twitter: CheCafePDX
Facebook: Che Cafe PDX

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Burgerville Nomad

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Burgerville Nomad

Burgerville Nomad

Location: mobile  – most recently seen at Pioneer Courthouse Square

Description:

If you are an Oregonian, when you think of Burgerville, you may think of Walla Walla sweet onion rings or Blackberry shakes or Tillamook Cheeseburgers. Burgerville is one of those local chain restaurants that bucks the fast food trend and embraces what this city loves – local. I have always been a fan of their burgers and known they were better than the other chains, but it was only in the past few years that Burgerville embraced a more local stance by partnering with Oregon Country Beef and sourcing their veggies from local farms. And they are succeeding. Now, they take their menu on the road.

The Burgerville Nomad is a burger truck by all accounts. Like many of the taco trucks we see around the city, it is designed to be truly mobile and doesn’t currently have a primary location. The Nomad has staff too. Not just a couple of individuals in the truck putting together your lunch, but they have greeters and hosts there to offer you a menu, take your order and hand you a napkin once your meal is done. I think I counted about seven or eight staff. Wow. They do a brisk business, constantly busy while I ate my lunch and observed, but no more busy than some of the other carts in the square.

The Nomad offers up an extensive menu. I haven’t been in a real Burgerville in awhile, so this may not be their entire menu. There are the signature burgers, the homemade veggie burgers, the turkey and chicken sandwiches. There are salads and fries and an assortment of drinks. They even offer up milkshakes and other desserts, including seasonal ones, leveraging local fruit harvests. The prices are reasonable – just like in the restaurant and the service is great. No complaints here.

I wanted to enjoy their signature Pepper Bacon Cheeseburger the other day, but upon arrival, I as informed that they had run out of bacon. Harrumph! It was only 12:15. I thought that was odd, but picked up the Tillamook Cheeseburger and enjoyed it just the same.

The Burgerville Nomad is a mobile truck, so if you are looking for it, you should follow them on Twitter or check out their website for current and future locations. If you want a great burger or blackberry shake, Burgerville is a good choice. When you find them, tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pepper Bacon Cheeseburger – Country Natural beef, pepper bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, condiments – $5.70
  • Tillamook Cheeseburger – Country Natural beef, Tillamook cheddar cheese, condiments – $4.50
  • Half-pound Colossal Cheeseburger – 2 1/4 lb. Country Natural Beef patties, American cheese, condiments – $6.40
  • Hamburger -$1.60
  • Cheeseburger – $1.80
  • Spicy Anasazi Bean Burger – spicy Anasazi bean patty, Tillamok pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato on a bun – $5.90
  • Rogue River Smokey Blue Salad – spring mix greens, Rogue River smokey blue cheese, cranberries, apples and crape tomatoes – $6.95
  • French Fries – $2.30
  • Seasonal Milkshakes – $4.80
  • Ice Cream Milkshake – $3.60

Hours: varies per event
Phone: 1-866-264-2313
Website: Burgerville.com
Twitter: BurgervilleUSA

Philly Cheesesteaks and Burgers

Food Carts Portland
Philly Cheesesteaks and Burgers

Philly Cheesesteaks and Burgers

Location: Pioneer Courthouse Square (near the corner of SW 6th and Yamhill) and SW 4th and Hall Pod

Description:

[Originally written Nov. 2008; updated Aug. 2009] Philadelphia Freedom! Perhaps it is this monumental 2008 election year, but after dropping off my ballot at the Multnomah County drop box downtown, I found myself craving a cheesesteak. I mean, really, what is more patriotic than life, liberty and the pursuit of melted American cheese on tender grilled and thinly sliced beef?

For it was in 1776 that the founders of our great nation declared, in Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence. In 1976, during our nation’s bicentennial I traveled to Philly for the festivities. Wearing a red, white and blue bell bottom jumpsuit, star printed tennis shoe laces on my converses and sporting a Dorthy Hamil haircut, I made the Spirit of ’76 pilgrimage. I went to the Liberty Bell, visited Independence Hall and watched actors and actresses in period costumes and white wigs talk in big words that I had no idea what they were saying. I do however, remember my first cheesesteak on that very same trip. It was dripping with grease, filled with grilled peppers and onions, thinly sliced tender beef and loads of oozing American cheese. It was heaven on a hoagie bun.

Philly Cheesesteaks and Burgers knows all about this particularly American sandwich. Their version is also pretty darn close to the ones found in Philly. With a simple menu that also includes that other quintessential American food, The Hamburger in all its forms, Philly Cheesesteaks is a quick, cheap and filling bite of Americana.

Sample Menu:
Philly Cheesesteaks – Thinly sliced steak grilled with onions, green and red bell peppers, mushrooms topped with melted white American cheese and served on a soft hoagie roll.
Small – $4.25
Medium – $5.25
Large – $6.25

Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers – $4.00 – $6.25

Soda – $1.00
Extra Steak – $1.75

Lettuce, tomato, extra cheese, pepperoni – $0.75 extra

Hours: Lunchtime Mon-Fri

Phone: Unknown

Website: Unknown

Email: Unkown

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