As the food cart has evolved, so too has the food-cart pod.
With some of the Portland culinary scene's most creative offerings being served from truck windows, the lots that hold them have upgraded from patches of asphalt with a smattering of heat lamps into beautiful, family-friendly spots like The Lot @ Scout (5029 SE Division St., 503-548-7383, scoutpdx.com).
A new satellite pub and cart pod from Scout Beer—the brewery just off Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard that began as a cart itself in 2014—the Lot houses a tight grouping of five culinary businesses. Food options range from from Dutch Smaaken Waffles to Hawaiian food by Namu, with a few carts culled from the now-shuttered pod on Southeast 28th Avenue and Division that housed the first Scout outpost.
The pub, which resides inside a remodeled 1920s bungalow that once served as an insurance office, acts as a superb non-cart anchor. Inside a bright, open-air space with a clear garage door and an elevated deck overlooking the carts in the lot below, Scout offers 12 taps that can be enjoyed from a series of standing tables and picnic benches. On a recent visit, a grassy side yard was occupied by dogs and toddling kids, just secluded enough to allow their guardians to keep an eye on them while they picked up a pint or a bite.
As for the suds ($6 per pint), we'd stick to solid guest taps from places like Sunriver and Matchless. Of the eight available housemade beers, the zesty Gin + Juice Hazy IPA was a highlight, but the experiment-focused brewery missed the mark on a murky brown marionberry red ale and a plum IPA that poured with disconcerting sediment.
Looking for a breezy place to enjoy the weather with a beer and paper bowl of heinously addictive Truffle Treasure Tots ($7) from Dog House PDX, though? There may not be any better Southeast Portland hangout.