What can I possibly tell you about food carts that you haven’t already heard? There are a lot of them, and they open and close with such frequency that trying to keep track of them all is a futile endeavor. They cluster together in ever growing, ever multiplying pods—there’s over 20 of them now, half of which opened since this time last year (there’s a list here). Portland’s carts, contrary to what your hypothetical tea partyer in-laws keep saying, tend to be quite sanitary.
Other cities, inspired in part by Portland’s example, have amended regulations to allow them; food trucks are now so ubiquitous and so buzzed-about in Brooklyn, Seattle and Los Angeles that a backlash is underway. Before you run to start a “Look at This Fuckin Hipster Food Truck” Tumblr, know that someone has already beat you to the snarky punch.
So what’s new in Portland street food? In this guide, you’ll find reviews of 54 carts we’d never written about before, along with 46 of our old favorites. Those that are participating in Eat Mobile, our annual street-food festival, on April 23 are marked with an “*”. Hours and locations are accurate as of press time, but beware—carts are capricious, and tend to move often. Google before you go.
Given the volume of food-cart openings, I’m sure we missed a few gems. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add them to the review queue. If you’re considering opening a cart of your own, we have some advice here. Enjoy! And please recycle your plastic clamshells.
Editor: Ben Waterhouse
Art Director: Carolyn Richardson
Copy Chief: Kat Merck
Copy Editors: Matt Buckingham, Peggy Perdue, Sarah Smith
Writers: Ruth Brown, Kelly Clarke, Ailin Darling,
Rachael DeWitt, Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Rebecca Jacobson, Casey Jarman,
AP Kryza, Michael Mannheimer, Caitlin McCarthy, Kat Merck, Aaron Mesh, Matt Singer, Tiffany Stubbert, Nikki Volpicelli, Ben Waterhouse
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Photographers: Vivian Johnson, Allison E. Jones, Matt Wong