Now, it looks like owner Bo Kwon is partnering up to open a huge bar in the Southwest Waterfront, with Koi Fusion and three other food carts inside it.
Cart Lab—in the former Lil Cooperstown bar space on Southwest River Avenue—is expected to open as soon as September, according to financial manager Mike Senzaki, who also handles finances for Koi Fusion. The bar will have 20 beer taps pouring local craft beer, plus local wine and a full liquor bar.
But Cart Lab's most distinctive feature will be its kitchen, according to Senzaki. "Currently there are windows into the kitchen," he says. "We converted those into a sort of indoor car pod, like downtown's Pine Street. I don't want to compare ourselves to them, but the carts are going to be in there."
These won't be actual mobile food carts. Rather, they'll be existing food cart businesses who'll serve their menus out of a set of food-cart facades set up on the kitchen windows.
Alongside Koi Fusion, PDX Sliders has already come aboard, with two more carts still in talks. Much of the rest of the bar will play up the onetime Stanford's restaurant's '90s sports bar decor with old '90s sports posters and strings of Edison bulbs; there'll be a kid's play area in the back. It won't be a late night space—closing at 10 on weekdays—Senzaki says it'll stay open until 11 pm Thursday through Saturday and host pop-up restaurants and special events.