It won’t have long communal tables or servers bellowing out oyster shot orders, but the beloved vaguely-Cajun restaurant Le Bistro Montage is returning to the city as a food cart, just months after it permanently closed due to COVID-19. The Oregonian first reported that Montage Ala Cart will open on August 8 at the Hawthorne Asylum food cart pod, and while its new incarnation may have a slimmer menu, the macaroni and cheese dishes — including spicy Cajun mac and creamy garlic mac — will be there.
In addition to the famed macs, Montage Ala Cart will have fried artichoke hearts, jambalaya, a giant salad, po’ boys wrapped in Montage’s signature tin foil sculptures, and “nacho-ronies,” tortilla chips covered in nacho cheese macaroni and Cajun pulled chicken. The macaroni will also have both gluten-free and vegan options, and there will be a variety of sides and add-ons.
This bit of good news comes in a time of mass-closures and upheaval in the Portland restaurant industry. For owner Derek Ingwood, who had been the executive chef at Montage for around four years, opening the cart was a “no-brainer.” “I was sick to my stomach that Portland was going to lose this legend, so I wanted to do anything I could to keep it open,” he says. “When we said we were going to close, the social media reaction from damn near half of Portland was visceral. There was no way I could just let this die.” The day after the decision was made, he went to the owners with an offer to license the name and keep the restaurant going.
Montage Ala Cart will open on August 8 at SE 1080 SE Madison Street. At the start, the cart will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, but Ingwood eventually wants to have it open for late-night dining, maybe 2 a.m., once things “settle” a bit.