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A large gas firepit in a courtyard surrounded by food carts.
Fire pit at Hawthorne Asylum.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Portland’s Coziest All-Weather Food Cart Pods

Enjoy the city’s dynamic food cart scene in all seasons

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Fire pit at Hawthorne Asylum.
| Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Portland’s food carts are a vital source of our region’s culinary dynamism. They offer up-and-coming chefs lower risk, lower overhead opportunities to take bold chances and grow loyal followings before taking the higher-leverage leap to a permanent restaurant space. While Portlanders love their food carts, the city is also home to a rainy season that can stretch from October to June, making dining al fresco something of an endurance sport.

Scarfing down a flight of tacos while hunched in the driver’s seat of a car is a time-tested Portlander move, but when damp weather strikes, venture to these food cart pods that come equipped with fire pits, robust patio roofs, heat lamps, and often fully indoor seating. This list does not include food halls, with food vendors housed permanently indoors; however, this map does include cart pods clustered around shared covered seating or central bars that encourage patrons to bring their food inside. Note: The stellar Portland Mercado would be a highlight of this unranked list if not for a devastating fire in January that indefinitely closed its indoor seating.

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The St Johns Beer Porch

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Like many St. Johns gems, the Beer Porch and its 17 carts are largely unknown outside of North Portland, but the charmingly eclectic porch is well worth the visit for a leisurely — and warm — weekend afternoon hang. Sip on one of the Porch’s stellar beers on tap while sampling fare from favorite carts like the Trinidad-by-way-of-Albuquerque Calypso Southwest, chicken Parm powerhouse Mangiamo, and Little Tibet’s peppery Himalayan thukpa.

An assortment of chairs and benches of different colors surrounding a modest bar, under the cover of a translucent patio roof.
Seating at St. Johns Beer Porch
St. Johns Food & Beer Porch

Prost Marketplace

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No food and booze crawl along North Mississippi Avenue can be considered complete without a stop at the cluster of elite food carts surrounding German bar Prost. The food pod features ample covered, heated seating; a roaring gas fire pit; and — of course — access to the brick-and-mortar Prost, beloved for its pretzels and bratwursts but welcoming of food from pod neighbors. Carts of note include the original Matt’s BBQ, Lao-Thai-Vietnamese fusion White Elephant, Desi PDX’s creative Indian American fare, and Bloodbuzz’s killer combo of coffee, beer, and affordable cocktails.

Lil' America

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This popular pod in Inner Southeast centers BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ cart owners. Here, diners can enjoy some of Portland’s best food carts — including 2023 Eater Award winner Frybaby, known for its fried chicken — either outside on the cozy covered patio or indoors within Fracture Brewing’s taproom. Other popular carts include the wood-fired Flame Pizza, Filipino American fusion Makulít, and Northwest seafood boil experts the Drip’N Crab. As an extra perk, the new Dos Hermanos cafe is just around the corner.

A brightly colored mural with abstract faces and phrases on a large outdoor wall.
Mural at Lil’ America.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Hawthorne Asylum

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Hawthorne Asylum’s huge central fire pit is as eye-catching as it is warm. Cart patrons can often be found packed elbow-to-elbow around the communal fire on busier nights, providing even Portland introverts an easy excuse to make conversation with a stranger. Other covered areas feature robust heat lamps. At latest count, 21 carts make the Asylum their home, including creative Korean comfort food Mukja, longtime Slavic food favorite Pelmeni Pelmeni, and the eclectic Thai Me Burger — featuring, yes, burgers, but also a terrific pho on winter nights.

A large iron sign reading Hawthorne Asylum overhanging the main entrance to a food cart pod.
Iron gates of the Hawthorne Asylum.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Hinterland

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Perhaps most renowned for Matt’s BBQ Tacos, the small Hinterland pod punches above its weight with well-executed fare like Hunker Down’s braised pork cheek and polenta, Third Culture Kitchen’s herbaceous Peruvian lomo, and Matt’s tender brisket tacos. Hinterland’s bar goes beyond the typical six-taps-and-a-wine pod bar, featuring 15 house cocktails with recommended cart pairings and hot sips like Irish coffee and hot toddies on those chilly days. The bar patio is fully sealed in the winter and warmed with powerful heaters.

The Original

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The rare food pod including a national chain restaurant — a Chipotle bookends one side of the courtyard — The Original is a newer pod on the Powell end of Southeast’s Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood. The large shopping center lot offers easy parking, and Powell is well served by frequent bus lines. Standout carts include Matt & Memere’s Louisiana cuisine, Azul Tequila Taqueria, and Noah Halal’s Mediterranean fare. Dine on the large covered patio or inside at John’s Marketplace over a pint.

A blue banner reading “The Original Food Cart Pod” hanging above a large covered dining area.
The Original.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

CORE - Collective Oregon Eateries

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CORE has seen some cart turnover in recent years — you might find some favorites like The Drip’N Crab and Briskets and Gravy in new locations — but recent additions like Sandy’s Myanmar Cuisine and Grilla Cheese keep this pod a worthy destination. The indoor dining space is vast and filled with light during the day — though unlike many entries on this map, the space is not a bar. CORE hosts frequent events onsite, like Her Market featuring BIPOC women-owned local businesses, summer night markets, and produce co-op pickup days.

A brightly colored tea leaf salad, with tomatoes, nuts, and seeds.
Tea leaf salad at Sandy’s Myanmar Cuisine.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Eastport Food Center

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One of the biggest and most varied food pods in the city, Eastport Food Center has weathered the closure of the neighboring Walmart — and the loss of dozens of employee lunch visits — largely on the strength of its standout carts. Top-notch offerings include Turkish Agha’s kofta-kabab saj, Year of the Fish’s halibut and chips, La Perla del Sur’s Cuban sandwich, and Taste of Afghan’s raisin-adorned kabli pilau. Dine under cover warmed by powerful heat lamps, or inside Eastport’s modest indoor dining space.

Two employees at the Taste of Afghan food cart posing in the cart window.
Taste of Afghan.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

BG's Food Cartel

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Hosting 31 different food carts and featuring a vast indoor, all-ages space in its Speakeasy Bar, BG’s Food Cartel in Beaverton is the crown jewel of food pods in the western suburbs. Dishes particularly suited for chilly, damp days include the Frying Scotsman’s fish and chips (try the haggis at least once), Mogokoro’s subtle ramen, and Avenue Saint Charles’s spicy jambalaya. The Cartel is conveniently located a block away from a Max blue line stop and includes a dedicated parking lot.

Flipside Bar And Carts

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Easy to miss near I-205 on-ramps, food pod Flipside Bar and Carts is one the gems of Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood, hosting eight food carts on a compact lot. Standout dishes onsite include Sabor Tindureño’s complex Oaxacan mole, Laotian Cambodian Golden Triangle’s spicy lime steak, or one of the best value chirashi bowls in town at Kenbu. The bar itself is spacious and modern, featuring some lovely views of the surrounding neighborhood. Flipside is just a block from a Max stop, as well as a short walk to similarly stellar food hall The Zed.

A mango-colored cocktail adorned with an orange peel and rosemary sprig sitting on a long wooden bar.
Cocktail at Flipside.
Flipside Bar & Food Carts

Happy Valley Station

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A large heated dining pavilion complete with a full bar anchors this bustling food pod out in the suburb of Happy Valley. Highlight carts include Peruvian Tita’s Kitchen (whose primary location at the Mercado is temporarily closed), Kracked Crab’s crab boils, and Hyderabad Hub’s flavor-packed Indian food. On winter weekdays, carts offer $9 happy hour meal specials from 2 to 5 p.m.

The St Johns Beer Porch

Like many St. Johns gems, the Beer Porch and its 17 carts are largely unknown outside of North Portland, but the charmingly eclectic porch is well worth the visit for a leisurely — and warm — weekend afternoon hang. Sip on one of the Porch’s stellar beers on tap while sampling fare from favorite carts like the Trinidad-by-way-of-Albuquerque Calypso Southwest, chicken Parm powerhouse Mangiamo, and Little Tibet’s peppery Himalayan thukpa.

An assortment of chairs and benches of different colors surrounding a modest bar, under the cover of a translucent patio roof.
Seating at St. Johns Beer Porch
St. Johns Food & Beer Porch

Prost Marketplace

No food and booze crawl along North Mississippi Avenue can be considered complete without a stop at the cluster of elite food carts surrounding German bar Prost. The food pod features ample covered, heated seating; a roaring gas fire pit; and — of course — access to the brick-and-mortar Prost, beloved for its pretzels and bratwursts but welcoming of food from pod neighbors. Carts of note include the original Matt’s BBQ, Lao-Thai-Vietnamese fusion White Elephant, Desi PDX’s creative Indian American fare, and Bloodbuzz’s killer combo of coffee, beer, and affordable cocktails.

Lil' America

This popular pod in Inner Southeast centers BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ cart owners. Here, diners can enjoy some of Portland’s best food carts — including 2023 Eater Award winner Frybaby, known for its fried chicken — either outside on the cozy covered patio or indoors within Fracture Brewing’s taproom. Other popular carts include the wood-fired Flame Pizza, Filipino American fusion Makulít, and Northwest seafood boil experts the Drip’N Crab. As an extra perk, the new Dos Hermanos cafe is just around the corner.

A brightly colored mural with abstract faces and phrases on a large outdoor wall.
Mural at Lil’ America.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Hawthorne Asylum

Hawthorne Asylum’s huge central fire pit is as eye-catching as it is warm. Cart patrons can often be found packed elbow-to-elbow around the communal fire on busier nights, providing even Portland introverts an easy excuse to make conversation with a stranger. Other covered areas feature robust heat lamps. At latest count, 21 carts make the Asylum their home, including creative Korean comfort food Mukja, longtime Slavic food favorite Pelmeni Pelmeni, and the eclectic Thai Me Burger — featuring, yes, burgers, but also a terrific pho on winter nights.

A large iron sign reading Hawthorne Asylum overhanging the main entrance to a food cart pod.
Iron gates of the Hawthorne Asylum.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Hinterland

Perhaps most renowned for Matt’s BBQ Tacos, the small Hinterland pod punches above its weight with well-executed fare like Hunker Down’s braised pork cheek and polenta, Third Culture Kitchen’s herbaceous Peruvian lomo, and Matt’s tender brisket tacos. Hinterland’s bar goes beyond the typical six-taps-and-a-wine pod bar, featuring 15 house cocktails with recommended cart pairings and hot sips like Irish coffee and hot toddies on those chilly days. The bar patio is fully sealed in the winter and warmed with powerful heaters.

The Original

The rare food pod including a national chain restaurant — a Chipotle bookends one side of the courtyard — The Original is a newer pod on the Powell end of Southeast’s Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood. The large shopping center lot offers easy parking, and Powell is well served by frequent bus lines. Standout carts include Matt & Memere’s Louisiana cuisine, Azul Tequila Taqueria, and Noah Halal’s Mediterranean fare. Dine on the large covered patio or inside at John’s Marketplace over a pint.

A blue banner reading “The Original Food Cart Pod” hanging above a large covered dining area.
The Original.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

CORE - Collective Oregon Eateries

CORE has seen some cart turnover in recent years — you might find some favorites like The Drip’N Crab and Briskets and Gravy in new locations — but recent additions like Sandy’s Myanmar Cuisine and Grilla Cheese keep this pod a worthy destination. The indoor dining space is vast and filled with light during the day — though unlike many entries on this map, the space is not a bar. CORE hosts frequent events onsite, like Her Market featuring BIPOC women-owned local businesses, summer night markets, and produce co-op pickup days.

A brightly colored tea leaf salad, with tomatoes, nuts, and seeds.
Tea leaf salad at Sandy’s Myanmar Cuisine.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

Eastport Food Center

One of the biggest and most varied food pods in the city, Eastport Food Center has weathered the closure of the neighboring Walmart — and the loss of dozens of employee lunch visits — largely on the strength of its standout carts. Top-notch offerings include Turkish Agha’s kofta-kabab saj, Year of the Fish’s halibut and chips, La Perla del Sur’s Cuban sandwich, and Taste of Afghan’s raisin-adorned kabli pilau. Dine under cover warmed by powerful heat lamps, or inside Eastport’s modest indoor dining space.

Two employees at the Taste of Afghan food cart posing in the cart window.
Taste of Afghan.
Nathan Williams/Eater Portland

BG's Food Cartel

Hosting 31 different food carts and featuring a vast indoor, all-ages space in its Speakeasy Bar, BG’s Food Cartel in Beaverton is the crown jewel of food pods in the western suburbs. Dishes particularly suited for chilly, damp days include the Frying Scotsman’s fish and chips (try the haggis at least once), Mogokoro’s subtle ramen, and Avenue Saint Charles’s spicy jambalaya. The Cartel is conveniently located a block away from a Max blue line stop and includes a dedicated parking lot.

Flipside Bar And Carts

Easy to miss near I-205 on-ramps, food pod Flipside Bar and Carts is one the gems of Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood, hosting eight food carts on a compact lot. Standout dishes onsite include Sabor Tindureño’s complex Oaxacan mole, Laotian Cambodian Golden Triangle’s spicy lime steak, or one of the best value chirashi bowls in town at Kenbu. The bar itself is spacious and modern, featuring some lovely views of the surrounding neighborhood. Flipside is just a block from a Max stop, as well as a short walk to similarly stellar food hall The Zed.

A mango-colored cocktail adorned with an orange peel and rosemary sprig sitting on a long wooden bar.
Cocktail at Flipside.
Flipside Bar & Food Carts

Happy Valley Station

A large heated dining pavilion complete with a full bar anchors this bustling food pod out in the suburb of Happy Valley. Highlight carts include Peruvian Tita’s Kitchen (whose primary location at the Mercado is temporarily closed), Kracked Crab’s crab boils, and Hyderabad Hub’s flavor-packed Indian food. On winter weekdays, carts offer $9 happy hour meal specials from 2 to 5 p.m.

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