Portland’s destination sandwich shop for house-made pastrami, Italian beef, and stacked burgers opens a new food cart in Southeast Portland Friday, July 7. Sammich will be one of the latest additions to the Heist food cart pod, home to other longstanding Pacific Northwestern carts like Smaaken Waffles and Wasabi Sushi.
Sammich founder Mel McMillan first entered the Portland food scene via a food cart. McMillan had been running the original, wildly popular Sammich sandwich shop in Ashland when she opened her Pastrami Zombie food cart in Portland, specializing in her popular house brined, smoked, and steamed pastrami. As she gained her footing, she decided to open a second Sammich location in Portland. Since then, Pastrami Zombie has disappeared and McMillan has gone all-in on Sammich, opening a cart in Seattle earlier this year. She wasn’t planning on opening another Sammich, but the offer seemed a little too sweet to turn down.
“I coach little league baseball in Southeast Portland, and the cart isn’t far from where we play,” McMillan says. “The Heist guy has eaten my food, he likes my food, he knows I have food carts as well as restaurants, and asked if I wanted to go into that slot. I thought I was pretty busy with everything else going on, but I couldn’t resist.”
The Sammich cart will offer all the hits from the original restaurant: Chicago Italian beef (a la The Bear), served with seared sweet peppers and jus; pastrami or porkstrami, house-brined and smoked; the Timbo, a Chicago-style cheesesteak. The cart will also sell its popular Zombie Fries, served with hunks of pastrami, giardiniera, provolone, and peppers. The cart will start with dinner service, eventually expanding hours as the cart gets settled.
McMillan is particularly excited about the pod itself, which is home to a bar with 24 taps, extensive seating, and more than 15 carts. “It’ll be a fun place to hang out,” she says. “I’m pumped.”
The Heist is located at 4727 SE Woodstock Blvd.