A huge new food cart pod is opening on SE Madison near the popular Cartopia pod, the Oregonian first reported. Hawthorne Asylum, named for a hospital for the severely mentally ill in the 1800s, will host 23 food carts, including Egyptian cart Peri Koshari, sushi burrito cart Rollin’ Fresh, and Eater PDX’s 2018 Food Cart of the Year Bark City BBQ.
The full collection of carts range from longtime Portland standbys to newbies, plus a few Portland restaurants who are exploring cart expansions. Wasabi Sushi will open a Thai cart within the pod, for instance, as well as the new-ish Vietnamese restaurant Xinh Xinh. Other carts include a mac and cheese bar called Honest Olive, raw food cart Daily Fuel, and Lebanese wrap stand The Pleasant Peasant; Owner and developer Steve Johnson has also hinted at the possible addition of Voodoo Doughnut or Salt & Straw joining the food cart pod. Down the line, Johnson plans to add a 50-foot covered bar with more than 100 beers, but for now the pod will host a beer cart with 50 different beers on tap.
The sprawling pod is stocked with fire pits, steel dragons, heated seating, a big-screen TV projector, stage, and murals, as well as seating for 108 — once the pod is fully complete, it should seat somewhere closer to 150. The pod is currently open, but the first 20 will move in to the pod throughout the month of February; Johnson will throw a Grand Opening on March 2nd, once most of the carts have moved in.
The name is more than just a nod to Portland’s history: The original Hawthorne Asylum was located right at the pod’s site, around Hawthorne and 11th. To honor the original purpose of the land, Johnson will have a large, secure drop box for donations to children in need of mental health care through the Oregon Health & Science University hospital. Stay tuned for more updates on tenants.