A new Latin American restaurant just opened on SE Belmont, but pollo a la brasa nerds may already be familiar. Char Latin Grill, the food cart formerly known as Polli-Tico, has started hawking burritos and bowls in Southeast Portland.
Owner Kenny Fonseca has opened his restaurant with an eclectic menu of tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and bowls, incorporating proteins like chicharron and carne asada. The restaurant also serves loaded fries and classics like fried yucca and plantains, which appear on top of rice bowls or in burritos.
Char first opened as a pollo a la brasa cart in 2014, which served obsession-inspiring rotisserie downtown. The cart moved to Happy Valley and changed its name in 2018, focusing on tacos and sandwiches and only serving the Peruvian rotisserie on Fridays and Saturdays. The new restaurant currently doesn’t serve the cart’s famous chicken dish, mainly because of permit issues: Fonseca is working with the fire marshal to get the charcoal rotisserie going at the restaurant this summer. Also coming this summer: A taco and churro window, so Portlanders can order to-go while wandering on SE Belmont.
It’s not the only new taqueria in town: Little Taco & Tequila recently opened in Old Town, serving tacos like tinga topped with Mama Lil’s peppers, as well as beef barbacoa with blood orange vinaigrette slaw. Little Taco also offers an assortment of tamales, tortas, and sopes, with an agave-spirit-heavy bar. With Burnside taco bar Tope now open as well, perhaps it’s time for a new taco-off.