Russian Horse

Russian Horse Portland

Russian Horse Portland

Location: SE 13th and Lexington in Sellwood
Hours: Wed, 11-3, Thurs-Sat, 11-6, Sun, 12-3

The Story: When asked what we’re missing in the Portland street food scene, I realize we don’t have a good presence of eastern European or Russian cuisine. That has changed in the last year with a couple of vendors opening and now the Sellwood district has the Russian Horse food cart to sate their pierogie needs.

Russian Horse opened early this spring offering a menu inspired by the simple peasant foods of Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Carmel and John Theesfeld, came to Portland chasing a dream of opening a food cart. After some discussion on cuisine, they  came up with the idea of pierogies, a traditional staple of that region. John’s family is the inspiration behind the pierogi, so they obtained the recipe and a cart and launched. Initially, it was just pierogies and borscht, but the menu quickly expanded to salads and dessert. 

Pierogies from Russian Horse

Pierogies from Russian Horse

Pierogies are a type of dumplings made of unleavened dough. First boiled, then baked or fried usually in butter with onions. Traditionally, they are stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. At Russian Horse, they have traditional pirogies with a potato filling served with caramelized sautéed onions or you can enjoy their tater tot or garlic mash pierogie. Such ingenuity from the food carts. I love it. Pierogies are a simple wholesome dish to enjoy with a bit of sour cream and pickle. Nothing spicy or eccentric, just good filling food. I enjoy that. I reminds me of an earlier part of my life when I was able to enjoy home cooking from the region. 

Russian Horse is now open in the Sellwood district Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and Wednesday through Saturday into the dinner hour. They offer more than pierogies, so check out their menu and enjoy. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: (see website for updated menu and prices)

  • Vinegret: mix of beets, potatoes, carrots, onions, pickles and kraut in a sunflower oil dressing – $4.50
  • Borscht: beet and cabbage soup – sm, $2.50; lg, $3.50
  • Chicken Wings Kiev – 4 chicken wing drumsticks deep fried and tossed in Kiev butter sauce – $7.50
  • Pierogies – 3 for $5
  • Dark Chocolate Pierogies – 3 for $5

Facebook: Russian Horse


  1. bluesbread says

    I am still reeling from my first and only experience there. I ordered the pierogies in broth. (Since I love pierogies and love soup this sounded like a perfect choice.) The food tasted OK — broth kind of bland, I added salt and hot sauce to give it more flavor. The problem was the logistics of eating it. It is served in a small disposable cup, even if you are eating there (unfortunately they don’t use the nice Russian dishware that is displayed). The server, who I believe is also the owner, brought plastic fork, knife and spoon. The spoon worked fine for the broth. But when I tried to cut and fish out the pierogies from the hot broth in the small cup, one of them slipped, splashing soup on my lap and then falling to the ground, causing me to lose one of the three pierogies I had purchased.
    As I was leaving the server/owner thanked me. I said “You’re welcome,” then told her about my problem. She gave me a most astounding answer: “We sell a lot of those.”
    I thought this conversation was about your customer’s experience at your restaurant, not about your bottom line. Not sure why she thought her sales would console me. Some sympathy at least, or, better, an effort to improve my experience would have helped. I think any considerate restaurateur would have offered to take some money off my bill or give me another pierogy to replace the one that fell, or something. There are too many dining options in town to bother with a place that just does not give a you-know-what about its customers. And the food quality here sure does not compensate for the horrible service.

  2. One thing I look for in a food cart is authenticity. I expect an ethnic food cart to at least attempt to have an understanding of the region they’re trying to represent. Russian Horse lacks that. Russia, Poland and Ukraine – three different countries with three different cuisines. Of course there are similarities, but anyone with a knowledge of the cuisines will know the difference. And to lump them all together is not only incorrect, it smacks of the Russo-chauvinism that Poles and Ukrainians have suffered during the Soviet years, and in the case of Ukraine: A country under an active Russian invasion. Show some understanding and maybe you’ll actually last more than 6 months

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