Savvy J’s


CLOSED – find them at Coalition Brewing as of 4/2012
Q19 Food Pod – NW 19th and Quimby [Updated 10/2011]

The Story:

Catfish po’boy. Need I say more? North NW Portland for me has always been a place to find good southern style food. Now, with the opening of North Station Q19, we have Saucy’s doing up some amazing BBQ ribs and now Savvy J’s which is serving up southern and Cajun cuisine, including kick-ass catfish po’boys.

The po’boy is a southern staple and has been around since the streetcar strikes in New Orleans in 1929. According to the New Orleans Po’boy Preservation Festival, the original “Poor Boy” sandwiches were offered free to striking workers who were supported by the community at large at that time. What made them unique was their size – 15″ or 20″ – rather large for the depression era. These days, a standard po’boy here in Portland isn’t more than a 10″ long. Can you imagine? If you were a paying customer, the price would have been 10c in the ’30’s.

Savvy J’s po’boy was a great sandwich. I ordered the catfish so I could share with a non meat eater and it was huge. The loaf itself wasn’t any larger han a normal 8″ sandwich, but it was overflowing with chopped lettuce, some tomato, pickles, tarter sauce and the perfectly lightly breaded and fried catfish pieces. I picked at it first, nibbling on pieces of catfish before I dove in and wrapped my paws around the entire sandwich in order to eat it. The catfish with the sharp pickles was a wonderful match and since the fish was lightly breaded, you were able to taste it instead of breading. My non meat eater love it also proclaiming that it may be the best catfish po’boy she’d ever eaten.

Savvy J’s offers po’boys with chicken, fish, shrimp and even oyster from that great truck. You can also get different sandwiches and even jamabalaya. The prices are reasonalble and when I was there, a nice young man took my order and even brought me my food instead of passing it through the window. Nice! Head on up to the latest pod to grace the city and visit Savvy J’s along with the other carts and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Update 10/2011 – Savvy J’s has moved to NW 19th and Quimby]

Sample Menu:

  • Po’boy: lettuce, pickles, tomato, creole mayor or tartar sauce – chicken or fish – $6; shrimp or oyster – $7
  • Bubba’s southern style pulled pork sandwich – $6
  • Tuna melt – $5
  • Grilled cheese – $3
  • PB & J – $3
  • Southern style chicken wing basket with fries – $6
  • Frito Pie $3


Lunch- Monday through Saturday: 11am-2pm
Dinner: Monday through Thursday: 4-9pm; Friday/Saturday 4pm-12am

Phone: 503 887 1260



Portland Soup Company



Location: SW 4th and College


I was waxing poetic about another cart the other week on Twitter when one of our followers asked if I had tried the Portland Soup Company. I hadn’t, so we set a date. Thank you @sarahsthreads for introducing me to such a great cart. Upon arriving, I knew from the craftsmanship of the cart itself, the food had to be great.

The Portland Soup Company offers up soup obviously, but also sandwiches and salads. The day we arrived, I was drawn immediately to the slow smoked pork butt sandwich and almost ordered it with a yell, but then I saw the Cajun andoullie and chicken gumbo. The choices. Oh, and an arugula salad. What is a boy to get? I inquired about a soup and sandwich combo and they offer $1 off either one if you do that, so I got a 1/2 sandwich and a cup of soup. While they were prepping our food, I inquired about the cart since it was beyond what normal carts do – cedar siding, trimmed windows, scroll work on the cart name. One of the gentleman inside stated they built it from the ground up on a flatbed. Looking inside, you could probably make a home out of it it was so roomy.

The gumbo was just perfect. When I popped the top, I was greeted with large chuncks of okra, one of my favorite vegetables. I realized I didn’t get a spoon and only had a fork, but that gumbo was so chunky, I didn’t need one. The gumbo was fabulous. Half way through my rather large “cup” of soup, I remembered I had this 1/2 sandwich to explore. The slow smoked pork butt sandwich is served with a slaw made up of thinly sliced apples and red cabbage. I ordered it on ciabatta, but couldn’t pick it up and bite in due to the shear size of the sandwich. Mind you, this was a half order. I slowly ate the slaw by itself until I could manage the sandwich. That first bite of slaw, ciabatta and pork butt was worth the wait. The pork was moist with that hint of slow roasting. These guys know what they are doing.

Portland Soup Company has joined the numerous carts now filling up the lot down at 4th and College by Portland State University. When you head down there, take your food across 4th ave behind the city buildings to the nice hidden park. It offers shade and quiet from the usual downtown bustle. If you visit Portland Soup Company, tell them FoodCarts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Roast tomato w/ Argentine Regiano soup – cup $4; bowl $6
  • Cajun andouille and chicken gumbo – cup $4; bowl $6
  • Slow smoked pork butt sandwich w/ purple cabbage apple slaw – 1/2 $4; whole $6
  • Hand made mozzarella w/ basil, tomato, balsamic syrup and olive oil – 1/2 $4; whole $6
  • Organic greens w/ roast tomatoes, garlic croutons, wildflower honey vinaigrette – sm $4; lg $6
  • Arugula w/ mozzarella, grape tomatoes, bacon and creamy chive vinaigrette – sm $4; lg $6

Hours: 11am-3pm, daily

Phone: (541) 968-1230



The Swamp Shack


The Swamp Shack


Location: SW Stark, just south of 5th ave.

Description: I wander down to the 5th avenue pod almost daily for lunch and when I saw that a certain gyros cart had moved, I began to wonder what would go in its place. For a couple of weeks, the spot was unused without indication of whom would join the food cart scene. Then, suddenly, The Swamp Shack arrived. Do you like Cajun food? Southern flavors? You will enjoy The Swamp Shack.

I’m a big fan of rice and beans. Honestly, I could eat it daily and one of my goals in life is to master really good and spicy (but not overly hot) rice and beans. When I visited The Swamp Shack, I saw they offered Jambalaya, which is a traditional creole dish of Spanish and French influence similar to paella. Served with rice, chicken, sausage, tomatoes, celery and spices, you just can’t go wrong. The Swamp Shack’s version of Jambalaya was spot on for me. Just the right amount of sausage, chicken and flavorful spice. I walked down to the fountain and ate it up. The right amount of everything – even spiciness.


The service at The Swamp Shack was fast and cordial, what one would expect from a southern restaurant. I’m glad they have joined us in foodcartland as I’m a huge fan of this style of cooking. They do some specials with duck, so I’m intrigued to go back and see what that’s all about. I call it comfort food, but know it may not completely fall into that category. The Swamp Shack does offer vegetarian and vegan options of their dishes.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya – rice with chicken, andouille sausage, onions, peppers, garlic, spices, tomatoes – $6
  • Duck and Andouille gumbo – $7.50
  • Crawfish Pies – pie filled with crawfish, creole cream cheese, onions, peppers, rice and cream – $3
  • Vegan Jambalaya – all the fixin’s except the meat, made with veggie stock, eggplant and caramelized onions – $6
  • Specials most every day

Hours: Lunchtime Monday through Friday
Contact: 225 281 475