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



  1. I really enjoyed the crawfish pies I had. Fried just right — flaky, tender and hot inside. Darn fine food.

  2. I tried the Swamp Shack today…Damn Tasty Gumbo!!!!
    (Duck and Andouille Sausage)

    The price appears to be a bit high and the proportion a bit low (in my opinion), but the taste exceeded in value. The spice and heat were awesome! And the flavor kept on delivering…until my big belly finished my lil proportion.

    I crave more.

  3. I’ve totally had their jambalaya. It was really good, but I think I still preferred the shrimp jambalaya from the Southern food cart on 12th & Hawthorne. Still, a great food choice for you downtowners.

  4. dieselboi says

    I want to try those. I was in a rice mood the day I was there. Thanks for the tip.

  5. They added crawfish etouffee to their menu. I just tried that yesterday. It was quite yummy — rich and creamy with a nice touch of spiciness. Served over rice. Yum.

  6. This place is great! Just had the meat jambalaya (veg sold out) and a crawfish pie. Great flavors & spice, and perfectly cooked. He apparently keeps the menu simple and executes the shit out of it.

    I lived in NOLA for three years and am glad to finally find good jambalaya here.

    I will be back to try the etouffee.

    I love the downtown food cart scene – my kind of food court!

  7. The owner, Trey, is from as close to Cajun country as you can get, without going West of I-10, and worked for a bit at Galatoire’s, one of the oldest and most influential New Orleans restaurants.

    Trey’s offerings, in my opinion (and I value my opinion VERY highly), are well thought out, carefully executed, and are as good as any you’ll find in this genre anywhere in Portland. We had the crawfish pies, and the etoufee, and both were spot on for ingredients, flavor, and execution.

    I’ll be back!

  8. I’d give their vegan jambalaya about 2 stars. At 6.50, it’s not that cheap, and was mostly rice with a few chunks of beets and unpeeled carrots. Given the usual portion-to-price value of carts, I wished I’d gotten a $3 burrito instead.

  9. I finally tried the vegan jambalaya and I thought it was terrible. First of all, it tasted quite bad. Second, I agree with the previous comment that it was almost all rice with a few small pieces of vegetables (which themselves also tasted pretty bad). 6.50 is an awful lot for a small dish of bad tasting rice with a few bad tasting veggies thrown in. Just my two cents.

  10. Very expensive. I had etouffee. Too hot for my taste and the portion is very small for $7.5. The craw fish is so tiny, like a shrimp. I will not be back.

  11. My wife, who is from Louisiana, and I hit the Swap Shack not too long ago. We had the crawfish etouffee and crawfish pie and loved them both. The Shack is now our destination when she’s feeling homesick.

  12. We stopped in last Friday on our way to the brewfest, looking to fill up before sampling all those beers. We shared a Shack Bowl, which is jambalaya topped with etouffee, then went for a crawfish pie and a Barq’s. Flavorful, perfectly spicy-but-not-too-hot, and the little corn muffins on top of the bowl were great. We did all but like the paper dish afterward and I’m absolutely going back. We loved eating as many meals as we could at the downtown carts while we were in town!

  13. Some of the portions can be a little on the smaller side. If you’re looking for more, get the fried chicken. It’s really really good, and quite filling.

  14. Russell Thomason says

    I would avoid going here. By “chicken and sausage gumbo” they really just mean a spicy bowl of rice. I had 1 bite of chicken and 3 thin slices of sausage. And it cost $7. What an unsatisfying lunch! You can get far better from nearby carts for $5 or $6.

  15. I got a crab sandwich with a side of jambalaya and beignets for dessert. What a disapointment. The sandwich was plain as could be, the jambalaya was cold and the beignets were like shoe leather. I paid $14.00 for the worst cart experience. I took a menu with me but threw it away when I got back to the office. I will go back.


  17. Wow. Really? Every time I go to Tabor for a schnitzelwich I look over and I can’t believe Swamp Shack is still open. And then every once in a while I grudgingly give it another try and EVERY TIME I feel like a goddamn chump. Even the Monday red beans and rice sucks, that’s how bad it is.

  18. after reading the bad reviews and realizing how inadequate the responses given were , I’m forced to assume as with other reviews that cheap skate people often complain just to complain , and rarely provide a truthful response. are they frequent lovers of cajun french southern cusine? do they even know what its suposed to taste like and have a true craving for good creole ? I hate revi ews that say it simply tastes bad, if you can’t explain the flavor than don’t comment.stay away from gormet and order pizza hut and taco bell , as they cater to your low standards of taste and flavor .this cart serves nothing but pure quality and gourmet mastered dishes with the prefect touch of heat, salt, and portions so good you wish you had more than one stomach. as a 5 star chef at a local restaurant with 20 years of expertise in food quality and flavor engineering, I know my palate well , and I know where I’m getting my cravings satisfied. swamp shack

  19. leparparatrooper says

    Is Swamp Shack still open? I dropped by last monday at 3pm and the place was closed with no hours listed. The phone number listed through google goes to some guy named trey and have not gotten a call back after leaving two messages a week apart inquiring about the hours. The website has been under construction for atleast a year. I certainly hope their food is better than their business savvy. From the comments by other users, it seems that the food quality matches the level of effort being put into the business itself. I will probably never know.


  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by HannahESmith: I think @pdxfoodcarts should use her influence to try to convince Swamp Shack to make a breakfast jambalaya. 😉

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