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Food Carts, Donuts, & Ice Cream

Voodoo Doughnuts Voodoo Doll doughnut

Voodoo Doughnuts Voodoo Doll doughnut

Photo courtesy Travel Portland

Portlanders love to eat. Whether its wrapped in bacon, locally sourced, sustainably grown, artisan made, vegan-friendly, Paleo trendy, gluten-free, fermented, topped with an egg or washed down with a microbrew, it’s no doubt the City of Roses is also the City of Food.

Portland’s burgeoning food scene is so epic it’s caught the national spotlight and the affection of the New York Times, who lovingly and regularly mine Portland’s food trends for “Best of” fodder. World-class fine dining chefs, stand side-by-side with artisan butchers, craft brewers, master mixologists, and sandwich gods in a community fueled by locally sourced, high quality cuisine. From the highbrow flavors of Le Pigeon’s sinful foie gras profiteroles to the down-and-dirty satisfaction of Bunk’s pork belly cubano, there’s no escaping the siren’s call of Stumptown’s epicurean delights.


Food Carts

By far Portland’s hottest food trend contribution has been its prolific, hyper-specialized food cart culture. While an economic downturn forced some brick-and-mortar restaurants to close, Rose City’s industrious entrepreneur chef types doubled down on food carts, niching out in obscure cuisine, creative new takes on old favorites, or focusing exclusively on perfecting or riffing on that one great dish. Some of the biggest standouts in P-town cart culture do just that and some even went on to become brick-and-mortar hot-spots like:

Nong’s Khao Man Gai
SW 10th & Alder Street
Portland, OR 97205

From a single food cart in downtown Portland serving just one favorite Thai/Hainanese dish, Nong’s has perfected the art of Khao Man Gai with hand selected ingredients that make this flavorful chicken, rice and broth combo a Portland favorite and have grown it to a multi-location success story, with an eastside brick-and-mortar, in addition to its downtown carts.

Grilled Cheese Grill
1027 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211

The folks in the double decker and big yellow school bus that make up the Grilled Cheese Grill’s food cart armada know there’s just nothing more satisfying than the comfort of an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich. From the simple nostalgia-inducing classic of The Kindergartner, to the meatlover’s sanctuary of the infamous 1/3 pound beef burger, wedged between two grilled cheese sandwiches and christened The Cheesus, and all the awe-inspiring incarnations in between, the GCG serves it all up with potato chips, pickle spear and a smile – just like mom used to make.

Frying Scotsman
SW 9th and Alder
Portland, OR 97205

Arguably the area’s most authentic fish and chips, the Frying Scotsman is the genuine article, run by a real Scotsman using family recipes handed down a generation or two, direct from Scotland. Now serving haggis.

Kim Jong Grillin
46 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97206

Korean Barbeque at its finest, serving Bulgogi (marinated strips of grilled beef), Galbi (Korean style short ribs), and Portland’s hangover cure, The Bibim box (Korean BBQ, Jhapchae aka glass noodles, steamed rice, topped off with a fried egg, two kinds of Kim Chee and sesame sprouts).



Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Featured on travel and food TV shows as a “must-eat” destination in Portland, Voodoo Doughnut’s Pepto-Bismol pink exterior and donut boxes are instantly recognizable to P-town denizens, as are their signature chocolate fudge covered and jelly filled Voodoo man donut, the coronary maple bacon bar, and their other cereal and Tang topped creations. With two brick-and-mortar locations and one traveling food cart in Portland, and sister locations in Eugene, Denver, and Taipai, there’s plenty of Voodoo to go around.



Blue Star Donuts
Four area locations
1237 SW Washington Street
Portland, OR 97205

If Voodoo is the clown carnival of donut shops, Blue Star is its wealthy, sophisticated aunt. Starting with a classic French brioche dough, Blue Star still plays with intriguing flavor combinations but they do it grown-up style, with pairings like Cointreau crème brulee, blueberry bourbon basil, hard apple cider fritter, Meyer lemon and key lime curd, and the landslide favorite, the vanilla bean custard-filled Valhrona chocolate crunch. With four locations to serve you in Portland, one in Tokyo and a newly opened Los Angeles location, this true blue star is rising fast.


Handmade Ice Cream

Salt & Straw
Three area locations
2035 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211

With three metro area locations and one in L.A., Salt & Straw is the rock star media darling of the Portland ice cream world, boasting epic summertime lines and complimentary quotes from the likes of Bon Apetit Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods host, Andy Zimmern, all singing its praises for out-of-the-ordinary flavors like strawberry honey balsamic black pepper, pear and bleu cheese, Arbequina olive oil, and mint leaves with sea urchin meringues.

Ruby Jewel
Three area locations
428 SW 12th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

Ruby Jewel’s journey started with an ice cream and cookie laced dream, sold out of a humble cooler at area farmers markets. Fast forward to today, with three Ruby Jewel scoop shops serving up artisanal mounds of delicately flavored, all-natural decadence (like chipotle rocky road, strawberry and chevre, honey pistachio, and cookies n’cream), ice creams sundaes, and their signature ice cream sandwiches (available the shops and in your local grocer’s freezer in flavors like Lemon cookie with honey lavender and chocolate cookie with salted caramel) and you’ve got an ice cream fairytale of legendary proportions.