One of Portland’s most beloved vegan spots has shut down for good.
Dinger’s Deli recently announced its closure over Instagram. The food cart served its last sandwich on July 9.
“This is not a goodbye! It’s a very simple, ‘I’ll catch you later,’” owner Brian Steadham wrote in the post. “I love Dinger’s Deli, and while I will still be working with food, I need a break to try new things and for me to change gears!”
The news came as a surprise to Dinger’s fans—up until its last days, the cart regularly sold out of food early. During the pandemic, the restaurant ran a successful pop-up at Century Bar.
Loved by vegans and non-vegans alike, Dinger’s served up hearty, East Coast-style hoagies, including a herbaceous meatball subs, a cold Italian sandwich with housemade faux salami and a tangy, pulled jackfruit Cuban sub.
Steadham tells WW that the cart isn’t closing due to lack of success, but because he needed a break from the “wear and tear, and emotional and physical toll” of running the business—and because another opportunity came up.
“I poured by heart and soul into Dinger’s Deli,” he says. “When someone approached me with a new project, it was easy to see how excited I was.”
For now, Steadham isn’t sharing too many specifics about his next venture. But it will be a collaboration with an existing brick-and-mortar in town, one with cocktails and a large patio. The sandwiches Dinger’s was known and loved for, however, won’t be on the menu.
“I’m really turning a 180,″ says Steadham. “I’m really looking at different styles of food, maybe things that you can’t in town at all.”
Still, Steadham will always have a soft spot for the sandwiches he spent three years slinging at Dinger’s Deli.
“It’s very much my brainchild,” he says. “I can’t let it go.”