Less than two months after the sudden, surprising closure of Stoopid Burger, former co-owner John Hunt is about to launch a new food cart.
Starting March 21, Union Burger will open at Northeast Stafford Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Woodlawn.
While Stoopid Burger was known for burgers loaded with decadent toppings, Hunt's new cart will focus on classic, simpler fare, such as homestyle hamburgers, milkshakes and hand-cut fries, plus a lemon pepper chicken sandwich.
Hunt tells WW he chose to start a cart instead of another brick-and-mortar to keep overhead costs and menu prices low—a lesson he learned when Stoopid Burger moved from a cart to a permanent space in Kerns in 2014.
"I feel like when we went brick-and-mortar, we kind of lost touch with that community," says Hunt. "I want [Union Burger] to be a hangout where people can feel connected."
Union Burger gets its name from Union Avenue, which was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in 1989. The area was once a hub for black-owned businesses, including now shuttered restaurants like Yam Yam's and Cleo's.
"They were more than places to get something to eat," says Hunt. "They were places where the community, especially the African-American community, would go to hang out. And we don't really have places like that in Portland anymore."
Union Burger's patties will be made with premium beef from Cason's Fine Meats, which recently took up residence in Dream Street—a group of black owned businesses in the Alberta Commons—after the decades-old butchery lost its Kenton outpost a few years ago.
"We're trying to bring back that feeling of feeling coming back to the neighborhood," Hunt says.