written by Julie Lee | photo courtesy of Moberi
One wheel at a time, Portland has spun a new standard for food trucks, paving the way for culinary creatives. While some are happy with the hours and balance that accompany a food truck lifestyle, others make it a mission to turn their cart’s success into a full restaurant—brick, mortar and all. Here are five of our favorite success stories.
Originality wins! Moberi is a pioneering bike-powered superfood bar. What does that mean? Healthy smoothies are created with bike blending brilliance: Schwinn exercise bikes are attached to blenders, and you can either choose to do it yourself or have it mixed for you. After garnering local attention with two carts and national attention on Shark Tank, owner Ryan Carpenter took the next step and opened a brick and mortar near PSU. We love the acai bowls, particularly the yoda bowl with almond milk and strawberries.
1876 SW 5th Ave. | moberiblends.com
The wait was long but worth every minute. Southwest Portland foodies anxiously eyed the space next to Bishops Barbershop in Multnomah Village, anticipating the unveiling of Tastebud. The menu is one you’ll want to work through, one visit at a time. While the pizza is signature with innovative toppings, the roasted chicken and trout shouldn’t be missed, and Tastebud presents one of the best kale salads in the city.
7783 SW Capitol Hwy. | tastebudpdx.com
The People’s Pig started as a downtown Portland food cart, expanding to the current location just two years ago. It’s a tiny joint that feels like a Louisiana side-street hole-in-the-wall, but it’s cranking out big flavor. The People’s Pig is known for its pork sandwich, but you could go big and order the “li’l bit of everything” combo: smoked chicken, ribs, beef and lamb, accompanied by every delicious house side. You won’t be disappointed.
3217 N. Williams Ave. | peoplespig.com
Let’s be honest, it would be sacrilegious not to pay homage to Pok Pok in a cart to brick success tribute; Pok Pok was one of the pioneers of this movement. Andy Ricker is one of, if not perhaps the most famous chef in Portland, winning best chef northwest a handful of years ago. Now with several locations in Portland, New York and L.A., as well as a cookbook, Ricker’s little cart is destined for world dominance.
3226 SE Division St. | pokpokpdx.com
If you love waffles, this is your place. Gigi’s Cafe started from The Gaufre Gourmet, a waffle-centric food cart specializing in liège-style waffles. Expanding into a restaurant made room for an old-fashioned soda fountain and scrumptious scrambles and hashes, as well as a wide-ranging list of waffle choices, from the spicy goat with salami and pistachios to the Monte Cristo, with house-roasted turkey, ham and Swiss cheese.
6320 SW Hwy. | gigiscafepdx.com