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Portland’s Favorite Barbecue Food Carts Have Closed, For Now

Matt’s BBQ and Matt’s BBQ Tacos will hopefully reopen in early April

Matt’s BBQ smoked meats
A barbecue platter at Matt’s BBQ
Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

Matt’s BBQ, one of the city’s most well-loved food carts, closed yesterday, as did its spin-off cart Matt’s BBQ Tacos. It joins the ranks of the many restaurants and bars that have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, though owner Matt Vicedomini plans to return in April with a new system that includes ready-made to-go boxes and a website order form.

At first, the two carts looked as though they would stay open through the pandemic — unlike a restaurant with a dining room, food carts can operate as normal, with the exception that diners cannot stay to eat at pods. As recently as two days ago, when the vast majority of Portland’s restaurants closed after Gov. Kate Brown’s executive mandate went into effect, both carts were set to remain open seven days a week, retaining all 24 staff members and taking phone orders for pick-up. Yesterday, however, Vicedomini posted to Instagram that both shops would be closing for the time being. “I thought I could keep pivoting while staying open,” he says. “But it’s just too much to think about operationally and from a public safety standpoint.” With the closure of Eem, which Vicedomini co-owns, that means there’s nowhere currently to find his smoked meats.

Vicedomini plans to restructure things a bit and reopen in April. “We’re going to take a moment to reassess how to run things properly in the new reality we live in. The barbecue cart will be back open on April 1, and the taco cart on April 9th.” As part of the new service, he’s working on a new website for convenient pre-orders, and set to-go boxes that will feed a family of four, though those are the only details so far. “We will be back in full force and ready to crush it,” he says. Hopefully, that will be the case.