"We turned what previously looked like a prison into a community-friendly gathering place," says Roger Goldingay, proudly.
He's talking about Cartlandia, his grandly named new food-cart pod that sits at the junction of Southeast 82nd Avenue and the Springwater Corridor bike trail. Yes, another pod. But this one brings a much-needed sense of community along with deep-fried turkey sandwiches to a gritty thoroughfare often associated with used-car lots and big-box stores (OK, and amazing Asian food).
Pod developer Goldingay, who also owns the North Portland food-cart pod Mississippi Marketplace, rehabbed the site—installing utilities and hauling away razor wire from the former used-car lot to create a space for a dozen food carts (there's room for 30) outer-Southeast's cart-starved neighbors as well as the cyclists who ride along the trail.
Wooing the cycling community was a major goal. There's even a bike repair trailer dubbed "The Bike Rack" on-site. Plus actual indoor restrooms, free Wi-Fi and grub served mostly by first-time cart owners so excited and eager to please they'll bring your food out to you in the covered seating area by the big-screen TV.
Eat this: Go for the Unitarian ($5.50/$8.50) and pick whatever toppings work for your belief system.
Eat this: The potato and cheese pasty ($6) is the ultimate in rainy-day comfort food.
Eat this: The Howlin' Wolf ($8)—shrimp simmered in a tomato, bacon, garlic broth over creamy grits. Served with collard greens and a corn dodger on the side.
Eat this: Those tots and the insanely good Monte Cristo ($8)—turkey, ham, mayo and mustard in sweet beignet dough dusted with powdered sugar. You will giggle like a 12-year-old girl when Saucier brings it to your table.
Eat this: Just go with the flow and order the trio of sliders ($6).
ICE, ICE BABY
Eat this: Shave ice with tiger's blood (strawberry and coconut) and wedding cake flavors.
Eat this: The single steakburger with cheese ($6) is the size of your head, but much tastier.