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April 20th, 2011 BEN WATERHOUSE | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Eat Mobile 2011: Pod Profusion

podsfeature_eatmobile_2011POOMPUI THAI - IMAGE: Allison E. Jones
The past 18 months have seen dedicated food-cart parking lots spread across the city like so many dandelions, springing from the ruins of failed condo projects, reclaimed vacant lots and the fever dreams of entrepreneurial landlords. In some areas, the cart clusters are so dense it’s alarming—four have appeared on Southeast Division Street alone. Who owns the pods? Where are they? And why should you risk a soak to eat at them? The answers, below:

NORTH PORTLAND

CRYSTAL FOOD GARDEN

7525 N Richmond Ave., crystalfoodgarden.com.

Owners: Milford and Sandra Roberts. Operated by Crystal Temple, the adjacent New Age community center.

Notable carts: Pizza Contadino, Lebaneser Scrooge, Savvy J’s.

Pro: Nice landscaping.

Con: Noise from adjacent Lombard Street.


MISSISSIPPI MARKETPLACE

4233 N Mississippi Ave., missmarketplace.com.

Owners: Roger Goldingay and Carol Otis.

Notable carts: Nuevo Mexico, the Big Egg, Garden State.

Pro: You can buy a beer at Prost! and eat your food on the deck.

Con: High turnover, erratic hours.


NORTH STATION

2730 N Killingsworth St. 

Owner: Madrona Hill Development LLC (Eric Jacobsen).

Notable carts: PDX 671, Pizza Depokos, Brown Chicken Brown Cow.

Pro: Real restrooms!

Con: Heavy auto traffic on Greeley Avenue.


SOUTH-SIP

3503 N Mississippi Ave.

Owner: Most Worshipful St. Joseph Grand Lodge, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons and Mount Olive Grand Chapter Order of Eastern Star of Oregon.

Notable carts: Caribbean Kookpot.

Pro: Owned by the Masons. The Masons!

Con: The Stonecutters would be cooler.


NORTHWEST

Q 19

1502 NW 19th Ave.

Owner: S & T Northwest LLC (Sanford and Antoinette Robinson).

Notable carts: So far it’s just Chili Inside/Chili Outside.

Pro: When it opens, a bar! An indoor bar!

Con: It’s still not open.


NORTHEAST

DREAMER’S MARKETPLACE

2737 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., dreamerspdx.com.

Owners: Graham Street LLC (Brett Anderson and Craig Adamson) and River Crest Apartments LLC (Dale and Jeff Denson of Dalton Management).

Notable carts: Pepper Box.

Pro: Line 6 stops right outside.

Con: Proximity to Popeyes taxes willpower.


GREEN CASTLE FOOD COURT

1930 NE Everett St.

Owner: Bush Avenue Apartments LLC (Donald Burns and Erica Daley).

Notable carts: Viking Soul Food, Cackalacks Hot Chicken Shack.

Pro: Convenient to Burnside and Sandy.

Con: Feels kind of like a prison yard.


LOMBARD POINTE

7410 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., lombardpointe.weebly.com.

Owners: Lombard Pointe LLC (Howard and Karen Hayashi).

Notable cart: Stevie’s Chicken ’n Waffles.

Pro: Cool corrugated-metal shelter.

Con: Might as well be in Vancouver.


SOUTHEAST

À LA CARTS

Southeast 50th Avenue and Ivon Street, alacartspdx.com.

Owners: Linda and Rodney Gramlich.

Notable carts: Shut Up and Eat, Off the Griddle, King’s Wings.

Pro: Giant, weatherproof eating area.

Con: Creepily desolate in winter.


CARTOPIA

Southeast 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard.

Owner: The Original Cartopia LLC (Proteus Pension Plan and Trust).

Notable carts: Whiffies Fried Pies, Potato Champion, Pyro Pizza.

Pro: The liveliest pod in town.

Con: Overrun with youth.


CARTS ON FOSTER

5205 SE Foster Road.

Owned by: Donald, Harry and Joseph Hanna, and Ronald Wilkinson.

Notable cart: Robb’s Really Good Food.

Pro: Plenty of parking.

Con: The highest turnover of any pod in town; heavy traffic; surrounded by strip clubs and lingerie parlors.


D-STREET NOSHERY

3221 SE Division St., dstreetnoshery.com.

Owners: ADG III LLC (Stan Amy).

Notable carts: Oregon Ice Works, Slice Brick Oven Pizza.

Pro: Beer! Good beer!

Con: Capricious hours.


GOOD FOOD HERE

4262 SE Belmont St., goodfoodherebelmont.com.

Owners: Real Estate Recovery Associates II, LLC (Mark Vuong) and Urban Development Partners (Eric Cress).

Notable carts: Lardo, the Sugar Cube, EuroTrash.

Pro: A genuinely nice place, with landscaping!

Con: You won’t want to leave.


SELLWOOD CORNER

7875 SE 13th Ave., myfoodcart.com.

Owner: Sellwood Corner LLC (Mark Gearhart of the Sellwood Antique Mall).

Notable carts: Curbside Grill, Kiko’s Taqueria.

Pro: Very pedestrian-friendly.

Con: Minimal shelter.


SOUTHWEST

ALDER STREET POD

Southwest Alder and Washington Streets between 9th and 11th avenues.

Owner: Greg Goodman and family.

Notable carts: Sawasdee, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Aybla Grill, Ziba’s Pitas, etc.

Pro: Dozens of carts, indoor tables at the Galleria.

Con: Death by crushing is a real possibility.


OG POD

Southwest 5th Avenue between Oak and Stark streets.

Owner: The Goodman family.

Notable carts: Tábor, La Jarochita.

Pro: The food is still both cheap and good.

Con: Nowhere to sit.


OTHER DOWNTOWN LOTS

Southwest 3rd Avenue between Stark and Washington Streets; Southwest 2nd Avenue between Oak and Pine Streets; Southwest 3rd Avenue and Ash Street.

Owners: The Goodman family.

Notable carts: Big-Ass Sandwiches, Built to Grill, Gin Northern Thai.

Pro/con: See “OG Pod.”


PSU POD

Southwest 4th Avenue between Hall and College Streets.

Owner: Oregon Pacific Investment and Development.

Notable carts: Hog and Hen, Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches.

Pro: Right next to PSU.

Con: See above.


(Sources: Portlandmaps.com, Oregon Secretary of State Business Registry Database)

 
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