By Eliza Rothstein
As far as Vicky Carmichael and Andre Montgomery know, there are only two places in the country where you can purchase a candy-encrusted grape.
Carmichael and Montgomery's version might not be so audaciously named, but it's equally addicting. Individually plucked grapes are coated in a secret syrup, rolled in crushed candy, then frozen. They refer to the flagship product as "the fruit of the future," but the individual elements are straight out of the '80s: Smashed Lemonheads and Fun Dip powder congeal into puckery geodes to make "Blue Raspberry Lemonade," while "Poppin' Skittle-Berry" uses Pop Rocks. Biting into any of them quenches like chugging an artificial sports drink—crisp, juicy, electrolyte-forward.
"It's stardust and moon rocks," Montgomery says. "That's why they're so galactic and outta this world."
Sugar is in both owners' DNA. Montgomery's grandmother is a confectioner in Detroit. Carmichael inherited her sweet tooth as well: "I'm Hispanic," she says. "We candy everything." Taking inspiration from the Craxk House after seeing it pop on his Instagram feed, Montgomery began making and selling the treats at home—after getting permission from the originators—then graduated to a cart last year. It's a true family affair: Their 7-year-old daughter also helps out, selling the grapes and inspiring some of the flavors.
"My daughter loves working here," Montgomery says. "She's into seeing people happy that they're eating the grapes she helped create."
Galactic Grapes doesn't have a regular menu and offerings rotate daily. Planners can click through the cart's Instagram stories on the day of to see what's available, but the true experience requires spontaneity. Show up and grab what's on hand—usually three flavor options, prepacked in varied sizes. The XS pack gets you 20 grapes for $10 (plus complimentary plastic container), or you can spring for the XXL party pack: $100 for 300 grapes. One regular often picks up the latter for staff meetings.
But the community's role in the success of Galactic Grapes goes beyond consistent patronage—it's a critical link in the cart's supply chain. Friends have willingly deputized themselves as scouts, reporting on grape sales across Portland supermarkets, and donate bunches picked up on their own grocery store runs. In turn, Carmichael and Montgomery allow friends in need of work and quick cash to run the operation for a shift or two and keep the day's earnings.
"We really do our best to put back into the community because they have given us so much," Carmichael says. "We pay our bills, we feed our kid with this business. We're blessed, and it's purely off of community support."
EAT: Galactic Grapes, 5800 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 213-246-7993, instagram.com/ galacticgrapespdx. Call to confirm hours.