Why Instagram Burger Brands Couldn’t Co-Opt Portland’s Food Cart Culture

This week, we Dive into ghost kitchens.

Is there any Portland industry that out-of-state money jerks won’t buy up and try to disrupt?

Food carts were our thing. Lots lined with a few continents’ worth of regional street food is something we’ve been known for. While the rest of Portland is slowly gentrified and homogenized, the carts are a cultural escape. You want birria, momos, stuffed mandazi or midnight shawarma? Well, you can find actually authentic versions of those foods at the pods. But when one interloping Floridian jammed his fingers in both empty lot management and ghost kitchen delivery, he found Portlanders wanting more than Instagram burger brands and chicken wings DoorDashed to their porches.

This week I’m talking to WW’s official cart pod sentinel Sophie Peel about her cover story “Ghosted,” a deep dive into Reef Technology’s big plans to disrupt both parking lots and cart pods with something called ghost kitchens: small carts that prepare food for several brands exclusively for delivery. I’ll have Sophie break down the connection.

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Thanks to our podcast sponsor, Pelican Brewing—now making zero-alcohol, fruit-infused sparkling water Sparkle Hops.