Powell Boulevard is getting a dining upgrade with a food cart pod and market that launches this spring. Q PDX, a Texas barbecue cart that currently operates as an Instagram-based shop, is looking to open May 1; it will be just the first part of a much larger project on SE 35th and Powell that will see buildings like the former Original Taco House revamped as restaurants, retail, and activity spaces.
Currently home to derelict buildings, Chinese restaurant Gold Bowl, and Rose City Strip, the entire 2.8 acre lot will receive massive rebuilds, led by developer Mark New of Development Company of the West. John’s Marketplace, a sprawling beer store and tap house in Multnomah, will open its second location in the old Taco House building later this year, with the food cart pod between it and the current Gold Bowl building. The year-plus-long project will see other buildings converted into restaurants, bars, and retail down the line. “These are some buildings that look terrible currently but are actually pretty cool,” says New.
It’s all an effort to provide an otherwise pretty barren part of town with some much-needed dining and activities. “We want it to be the neighborhood’s living room,” says New. “A place where people can go to work out, have dinner, or have a beer; every street in Portland has one but Powell.” New also discussed the landscaping efforts that are happening, with trees, plants, seating, awnings, and modest parking going into the gritty urban area. He’s not looking to gentrify the neighborhood, though, and has been closing working with the neighborhood association and local businesses to see what’s most needed by nearby residents. “It’s very dense neighborhood, with over 200,000 people within three miles, people who deserve a good project.”