The Midtown Beer Garden, an effort to reanimate downtown with the reliable attraction of food carts, has scored two big names: Tokyo Sando and Bing Mi. Tokyo Sando will open at the Southwest Harvey Milk Street Beer Garden this month (following the closure of its previous food truck in December), with Bing Mi following in March.
Tokyo Sando is best known for its fusion of Japanese and Pacific Northwest cuisine, highlighted by offerings like the Naka Sando, which includes panko-crusted chicken with Nanban sauce. “The breading is deep brown,” wrote our reviewer in 2020, “with significantly more crunch, dressed with a mound of katsu sauce that’s also made in house, plus cabbage and brown mustard. It’s still great cold, too.”
A child of restaurateurs from Tokyo’s Ginza district, owner Taiki Nakajima honed his culinary skills at a cafe in Melbourne, Australia, before moving to Philadelphia and ultimately fulfilling his dream of running a food truck in Portland.
“I love Portland,” Nakajima said in a statement. “Downtown is alive, and I want to help people see that.”
Bing Mi, meanwhile, will be moving to the Midtown Beer Garden from the Nob Hill food cart pod, bringing dishes from owner Jacky Ren’s hometown in Northern China, like the “loaded” jianbings, as well as much more. “Jian bing is the only thing on the menu, and they’re flat-out fantastic, whether with or without the sweet Chinese sausage you can tack on for a buck,” our critic wrote nearly a decade ago, when the cart was still at Southwest 9th and Alder.
Like Nakajima, Ren expressed enthusiasm about having a presence downtown: “We have lots of regulars who work and live down here, and I’m excited to be back.”