Southeast Division's "Restaurant Row" has become one of the city's buzziest destinations, attracting new culinary talents as well as second outposts from some of the city's most successful restauranteurs. But with so much new construction going on, it's kind of surprising that there would be any prime real estate left for something like a cart pod, or that it would even be welcome. But Tidbit Food Farm and Garden is a perfect fit:
1) It's planned and managed by restaurant designers. Christina Davis and Aaron Blake of Reworks Design also designed Trifecta and Bollywood Theater, so there's an attention to aesthetic details most other pods lack: The trailers are well decorated (Tidbit probably has the highest concentration of airstream-style trailers in the city); the picnic tables match; potted trees and plants are scattered throughout; and giant canopies offer shelter and shade. There are also amenities like deluxe porta-potties and a sink with soap and water.
2) The carts were selected based on variety. Love Belizean, Namu Korean & Hawaiian, Buki Japanese, Ingrid's Scandinavian, Smaaken waffle sandwiches, Pyro Pizza, Scout beer, the list goes on. "We wanted to have a mixure of food," says Davis. "We didn't want anyone to be competing with anyone else."
Even more distinctive, not all the carts sell food. "We have Dragonfly Monet, which sells flowers and gifts from France," says Davis "And Menagerie, which sells things like jewelry, handmade lotions and fragrances. It's one of the coolest shops in Portland. Lodekka sells vintage clothes. And we have a farmstand from Parsons Farms in Canby." Along with produce, the mini farm market also has a tiny pumpkin patch and will sell Christmas trees.
3) It's a community gathering space: The center of the lot features a firepit, seating, and ample room for a band to set up on weekends. "We're trying to be creative with what's happening there," says Davis. "We'll have a lot of live music. And during the Division Street celebration on Oct. 24 we'll have an artisan night market." Davis says gaming groups have convened at Tidbit, people have held birthday parties, and someone even contacted her about having a wedding. "It's a great place to have events," she says. "It's catered and it's a beautiful space."
Davis and Blake have a five-year-lease on the lot. That means It'll be at least five years before anyone has to worry about high-rise developments moving in on the space. It's a next-generation cart pod, and it's here to stay.