Kargi Gogo, the shuttered food cart that introduced much of Portland to Georgian cooking, will rise again with dumplings and cheese bread starting this summer, the Portland Mercury reported first. Owners Sean Fredericks and McKinze Cook have snatched the recently closed Big Egg location on Alberta for a Georgian kitchen, complete with an expanded menu, seasonal sides, and a wide variety of Georgian wines.
When the original cart closed in December 2015, the owners wrote on Kargi Gogo’s Facebook page that their “intention was never to operate a food cart forever.” In the last two years, Fredericks and Cook moved to Georgia, and after some soul searching, the two decided it was time to bring back Kargi Gogo. “Last year, I did a lot of different things, I explored a lot of potential opportunities, but by the end of the year, everything in my life aligned and I recognized that opening Kargi Gogo into a restaurant was what I wanted to do and what I needed to do,” Fredericks said. “I wanted the opportunity to share more than what we could possibly do with a food cart.”
For Fredericks, that includes wine — a lot of it. As national publications continue to celebrate Georgian Saperavi and Kindzmarauli, Fredericks wants to educate Portlanders on the whole gambit, from reds and whites “for people who might like cabernet or pinots or sauv blancs,” to amber wines made in the traditional Georgian clay vessels.
For those dreaming of Kargi Gogo’s pillowy filled khinkali, good news: The menu will have a wider selection of them, including seasonal varieties. The menu will also have a larger section of khachapuri, breads stuffed with cheese and other fillings. Lighter sides will also be available, focused on seasonal vegetables; a gobi plate, sort of a Georgian meze, will give guests an opportunity to try a few. He says the sides will be “mostly vegetarian or vegan, just because that’s how Georgians eat.”
As for the restaurant’s atmosphere, Fredericks is going for casual counter-service. “We’ve spent so much time in Georgia, and so many times we’ve been in people’s homes, sitting at their table... That’s the vibe we want to create here: welcoming, hospitable, warm,” he said. “The decor will reflect that.”
• Kargi Gogo [Official]
• Once-Shuttered Food Cart Kargi Gogo Set to Re-Open this Summer as Brick-and-Mortar [Merc]
• The Georgian Cheese Bread Trend Leaves Portland with Kargi Gogo [EPDX]
• Khachapuri Has Crossed Over Into a New York Essential Dish [Eater NY]
• Wine Regions on the Rise [Wine Enthusiast]
• Why Georgia (The Country) Is The Next Great Food And Wine Destination [Forbes]