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At Maximalist Chef Anthony Brown’s New Food Cart, He’s Getting Back to Basics

Brown — the owner of the shape-shifting, cart-turned-restaurant-turned-cart Nacheaux — has settled into a new spot specializing in dialed-in carnitas and fried chicken po’boys

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A chef holds his toddler-aged son within a food cart.
Chef Anthony Brown with his son, Boss, at Boss Po’boys.
Boss Po’boys
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

As a restaurateur and chef, Nacheaux owner Anthony Brown’s professional strategy has been to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Over the course of the last four years, Brown opened a food cart, opened a restaurant, opened a food hall, took over a stall in a hotel’s food hall, popped up in a bar kitchen, became a caterer, and ran a mobile food cart business. He has served crawfish crunchwraps, fried chicken concha sandwiches, strawberry fruity pebble pancakes, prime rib burritos, and Dorito-dusted wings. Menus and concepts changed frequently, month to month — sometimes day-to-day. And for a while, that was fun. But these days, Brown is ready to simplify.

“I started Nacheaux in 2020 thinking, ‘I’m going to be a full-blown trailblazer,’” Brown says. “I had so much stuff I wanted to do, but it wasn’t grasped well. If it wasn’t for our resilience, if we hadn’t kept pushing, we would have been gone a long time ago.” So for his next act, Brown is keeping things simple: no oft-changing menus, no burgers stacked with a million wild toppings; just dialed in po’boys — an homage to his wife’s Louisiana roots — at a cart named for his son, Boss.

Boss Po’boys, now open at the Cartside pod in North Portland, specializes in a variety of traditional and nontraditional versions of the famous Southern staple. Po’boys arrive filled with options like fried shrimp, fried catfish, and fried chicken (the Boss Po’boy arrives with both fried chicken and shrimp), as well as a Nacheaux stalwarts like carnitas. Sides include a number of different seasoned fries — Cajun butter fries, lemon pepper fries — as well as the fried mac and cheese bites spotted at Nacheaux’s original cart.

Each po’boy is similarly dressed: Franz buns get a lacy crust of cheese before they’re stuffed with marinated tomatoes, lettuce dressed in garlic oil, plus a combination of garlic aioli and Boss Sauce, which behaves like a remoulade. “Having that cheese guard in between [the sauce and the bun] will keep us from having soggy bread,” Brown says. “It’s all super simple, but we’re making sure it’s not just lettuce, it’s garlic lettuce, and jazzing up that bread as well. Simple but elevated, that’s what I wanted.”

Of course, Brown will get into more playful territory from time to time with cart specials. Some will be variations on po’boys, adding meats like crawfish, alligator, or thinly sliced rib-eye; the specials offerings will also include a few Louisiana standards like gumbo. Watermelon-peach or pineapple-vanilla lemonade, as well as beignets in flavors like churro or chocolate ganache, will round out the menu.

Brown’s goal: longevity, to create a business that can be a consistent home for his family for years to come. “It’s named for our child,” he says. “Let’s put our best foot forward.”

Boss Po’boys is located at 1825 N Williams Avenue.