It's been five years coming, but on April 1, Portland Mercado officially opens to the public. In all, 19 Latino-owned businesses—including eight food trucks—will call the 7,000-square-foot structure home.
According to Hacienda CDC Marketing Coordinator Jamie Melton, the plaza-like space is a business "incubator" designed to provide first-time Latino business owners retail space at affordable rates. Hacienda CDC, which guides families in the Latino community toward better economic advancement, funded the operation.
The market's also the first of its kind in the city.
Inside, you can find retail shops specializing in produce, flowers, grains and goods imported from lots of Latin American countries. There's also a coffee shop and a bottle shop, and even space for a sign maker, an insurance agency and an intercultural communications company.
As for those carts, know this: Five of them will serve Mexican cuisine, but because the operators are focusing on different regions, the menus will never overlap. And if you're feeling adventurously curious, stop by the Cuban-Argentine fusion cart, or the pupuseria that blends flavors unique to Columbia and El Salvador.
And you'll never have to eat in the rain or the cold—Portland Mercado also has a communal dining area.
The April 1 opening is a soft one, Melton says, with a grand opening party scheduled for the following week.
On that day, not only will there be plenty to eat—with plenty of eats to take home—there will be mariachi and salsa music, DJs and, of course, lots of dancing.
Plus, if you're one of the first 500 people there, you'll be treated to a Mercado gift card.
The Portland Mercado Grand Opening takes place on Saturday, April 11, from noon to 7 p.m.
Portland Mercado, 7238 SE Foster Rd. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.