clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Boiled peanuts, wings, shrimp and grits, and a meatloaf plate from Erica’s Soul Food in Portland.
An assortment of dishes from Erica’s Soul Food.
Carla J. Peña/Eater Portland

Where to Find Serious Soul Food in Portland and Beyond

Where to find fried chicken, collard greens, candied yams, and more

View as Map
An assortment of dishes from Erica’s Soul Food.
| Carla J. Peña/Eater Portland

Though “soul food” as a culinary descriptor originated in the 1960s, the cuisine and its gastronomical elements, traditions, and history stretch back for centuries, with roots in the African diaspora, the transatlantic slave trade, and early Black foodways. It’s a cuisine in the world not named after a certain nation; its name evokes a feeling, and often memories going back through generations of shared meals and cooking traditions. In Portland, dishes like fried chicken and mac and cheese have long been popular, but a growing number of Black-owned restaurants and food carts have started to flesh out the city’s soul food scene, serving saucy smothered turkey legs, candied yams, and cornmeal-fried catfish. This map omits some strong players that are temporarily closed — Selena’s Custom Kitchen, in particular — but you should still be able to find crispy fried chicken and fish, smoky and saucy barbecue, loaded sides galore, cheesy grits, and sweet and biscuity desserts among the entrants below.

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Heavy Plays

Copy Link

Right off the river on North Anchor Way, this colorful spot serves heaping baskets of fried shrimp and chicken, rich and garlicky mac and cheese, thick chopped cheeses, and piles of seafood boil enriched with beef hot links. The dessert menu includes classics like peach cobbler, banana pudding, and — if you’re lucky — sweet potato pie.

Ja'Das Soulful Eatz

Copy Link

Located within the Park the Carts pod on MLK, Ja’Das Soulful Eatz serves all the soul food classics, including sweet and buttery yams, gooey mac and cheese, tender collard greens, and plenty of fried chicken and seafood. Owner Jamie Turner started in the baking world, so dessert here is a must — sweet potato pie and banana pudding are obvious winners, but the specials board often includes knockout cakes in flavors like pink Champagne, red velvet, and more.

Kee's #Loaded Kitchen

Copy Link

Kee’s might very well be the most well-known soul food spot on this map, often accruing long lines of customers seeking brown sugar ribs and fried chicken tossed with a sweet-salty seasoning blend she calls the “gold dust.” While the location has changed over the years, what’s made Kiauna Nelson a household name in Portland — giant to-go boxes of fried chicken, saucy mac and cheese, and crispy fried catfish — has remained unchanged. Kee tends to sell out, so check the Instagram account before heading over.

V' Soul Food Shack

Copy Link

This quaint little mobile home sits in the Cully Central food cart pod, where it serves familiar soul food dishes like fried chicken and wings, as well as fried catfish and red snapper, gumbo, and whole racks of sauce-slathered St. Louis-style ribs. Side options include many of the usual suspects (mac and cheese, yams), but also a few southern sides not as easily found elsewhere, including cabbage.

A basket of crispy breaded fried chicken.
Chicken basket at V’ Soul Food Shack.
V’ Soul Food Shack

Maudine’s & Irene’s Soul Food Cuisine

Copy Link

This Parkrose food cart could be easy to miss when zooming down Sandy, parked in a nondescript lot, but that would be a mistake: This tiny white cart fries crackly cornmeal fried chicken or catfish, scoops piles of rich mac and cheese, and stews greens bolstered with smoked meats. Menus change and hours can be a little inconsistent, so it’s best to call ahead before driving out.

Dirty Lettuce

Copy Link

Few culinary traditions are so deeply connected to animal proteins as soul food is to pork, chicken, shrimp, and catfish. Some might ask: is vegan soul food even possible? Dirty Lettuce proves the doubters more than wrong, with a dazzling selection of seitan ribs and fried chicken, konjac root shrimp, and sides that highlight the rich vegetable-forward side of soul food, including collards, mashed potatoes, and cauliflower. Carnivores might not find the same exact mouthfeel, but the taste and care that chef Alkebulan Moroski puts into every creation will have many returning for seconds.

Southern Kitchen PDX

Copy Link

Discreetly tucked in a small, shady food pod at the southern end of the Mississippi main drag, Southern Kitchen lives up to the long tradition of soul food in the neighborhood, with a particular specialty in po’boys — offered with oysters, shrimp, or salmon. Portions are generous and the covered picnic seating is an ideal spot to polish off a basket of ribs before heading out to the bar or a concert at Mississippi Studios.

Mumbo Gumbo

Copy Link

This food cart walks the line between Cajun and soul food spot, pouring cups of sweet tea to pair with customizable gumbo bowls, red beans and rice, hot links, and shrimp sandwiches. Shrimp and grits here are particularly special, using a rich white wine and heavy cream gravy with the added oomph of andouille sausage. For dessert, choose between banana pudding and sweet potato pie.

Trap Kitchen

Copy Link

Longtime Portlanders are naturally a little wary of Californians bearing gifts, but exceptions are enthusiastically made for Compton’s Trap Kitchen, which has taken Portland by storm in recent years — partially thanks to locals running the kitchen. From the initial East Portland cart to a downtown location within the Roseland Theater, the inventive soul-fusion of chef Malachi “Spankihana” Jenkins and his acolytes have made old comfort favorites like chicken-and-waffles and catfish-and-fries as exciting to the taste buds as the popular pineapple bowls.

Erica's Soul Food

Copy Link

This bright yellow cart is now posted up at union hangout Worker’s Tap, slinging blackened catfish and boiled peanuts to those lingering on the back patio. Many visit the cart for her chicken or vegan soy protein wings, tossed in sauces ranging from peach sriracha to the ATL — Atlanta-style chicken wings in a saucy lemon-pepper glaze. All of the wings are fantastic, but an alternate move here is to go for the maple hot fried chicken on a sweet potato waffle, or the phenomenal shrimp and grits. Be sure to check the Instagram account before heading over, in case of an unexpected closure.

A bowl of shrimp and grits sits on a table at Erica’s Soul Food.
Shrimp and grits at Erica’s Soul Food.
Carla J. Peña/Eater Portland

The Mac

Copy Link

Few side dishes are as reliably crowd-pleasing as mac and cheese — soul food or otherwise. In the Portland metro area, there are countless great places to find a steamy bowl of chewy noodles drenched in gooey cheese. The Mac food cart in Tigard takes these bowls a step or two further, offering everything from typical protein additions such as ground, bacon, or smoked chicken as well as unexpected options like banana peppers, honey sriracha, and dill pickles. Beyond the noodles, the Mac also serves fried or smoked chicken strips, as well as potatoes slow-smoked in chicken drippings.

A table full of dishes from the Mac, including mac and cheese topped with crab legs and beef, a side of fried shrimp, and a side of corn.
Mac and cheese from the Mac.
The Mac

Heavy Plays

Right off the river on North Anchor Way, this colorful spot serves heaping baskets of fried shrimp and chicken, rich and garlicky mac and cheese, thick chopped cheeses, and piles of seafood boil enriched with beef hot links. The dessert menu includes classics like peach cobbler, banana pudding, and — if you’re lucky — sweet potato pie.

Ja'Das Soulful Eatz

Located within the Park the Carts pod on MLK, Ja’Das Soulful Eatz serves all the soul food classics, including sweet and buttery yams, gooey mac and cheese, tender collard greens, and plenty of fried chicken and seafood. Owner Jamie Turner started in the baking world, so dessert here is a must — sweet potato pie and banana pudding are obvious winners, but the specials board often includes knockout cakes in flavors like pink Champagne, red velvet, and more.

Kee's #Loaded Kitchen

Kee’s might very well be the most well-known soul food spot on this map, often accruing long lines of customers seeking brown sugar ribs and fried chicken tossed with a sweet-salty seasoning blend she calls the “gold dust.” While the location has changed over the years, what’s made Kiauna Nelson a household name in Portland — giant to-go boxes of fried chicken, saucy mac and cheese, and crispy fried catfish — has remained unchanged. Kee tends to sell out, so check the Instagram account before heading over.

V' Soul Food Shack

This quaint little mobile home sits in the Cully Central food cart pod, where it serves familiar soul food dishes like fried chicken and wings, as well as fried catfish and red snapper, gumbo, and whole racks of sauce-slathered St. Louis-style ribs. Side options include many of the usual suspects (mac and cheese, yams), but also a few southern sides not as easily found elsewhere, including cabbage.

A basket of crispy breaded fried chicken.
Chicken basket at V’ Soul Food Shack.
V’ Soul Food Shack

Maudine’s & Irene’s Soul Food Cuisine

This Parkrose food cart could be easy to miss when zooming down Sandy, parked in a nondescript lot, but that would be a mistake: This tiny white cart fries crackly cornmeal fried chicken or catfish, scoops piles of rich mac and cheese, and stews greens bolstered with smoked meats. Menus change and hours can be a little inconsistent, so it’s best to call ahead before driving out.

Dirty Lettuce

Few culinary traditions are so deeply connected to animal proteins as soul food is to pork, chicken, shrimp, and catfish. Some might ask: is vegan soul food even possible? Dirty Lettuce proves the doubters more than wrong, with a dazzling selection of seitan ribs and fried chicken, konjac root shrimp, and sides that highlight the rich vegetable-forward side of soul food, including collards, mashed potatoes, and cauliflower. Carnivores might not find the same exact mouthfeel, but the taste and care that chef Alkebulan Moroski puts into every creation will have many returning for seconds.

Southern Kitchen PDX

Discreetly tucked in a small, shady food pod at the southern end of the Mississippi main drag, Southern Kitchen lives up to the long tradition of soul food in the neighborhood, with a particular specialty in po’boys — offered with oysters, shrimp, or salmon. Portions are generous and the covered picnic seating is an ideal spot to polish off a basket of ribs before heading out to the bar or a concert at Mississippi Studios.

Mumbo Gumbo

This food cart walks the line between Cajun and soul food spot, pouring cups of sweet tea to pair with customizable gumbo bowls, red beans and rice, hot links, and shrimp sandwiches. Shrimp and grits here are particularly special, using a rich white wine and heavy cream gravy with the added oomph of andouille sausage. For dessert, choose between banana pudding and sweet potato pie.

Trap Kitchen

Longtime Portlanders are naturally a little wary of Californians bearing gifts, but exceptions are enthusiastically made for Compton’s Trap Kitchen, which has taken Portland by storm in recent years — partially thanks to locals running the kitchen. From the initial East Portland cart to a downtown location within the Roseland Theater, the inventive soul-fusion of chef Malachi “Spankihana” Jenkins and his acolytes have made old comfort favorites like chicken-and-waffles and catfish-and-fries as exciting to the taste buds as the popular pineapple bowls.

Erica's Soul Food

This bright yellow cart is now posted up at union hangout Worker’s Tap, slinging blackened catfish and boiled peanuts to those lingering on the back patio. Many visit the cart for her chicken or vegan soy protein wings, tossed in sauces ranging from peach sriracha to the ATL — Atlanta-style chicken wings in a saucy lemon-pepper glaze. All of the wings are fantastic, but an alternate move here is to go for the maple hot fried chicken on a sweet potato waffle, or the phenomenal shrimp and grits. Be sure to check the Instagram account before heading over, in case of an unexpected closure.

A bowl of shrimp and grits sits on a table at Erica’s Soul Food.
Shrimp and grits at Erica’s Soul Food.
Carla J. Peña/Eater Portland

The Mac

Few side dishes are as reliably crowd-pleasing as mac and cheese — soul food or otherwise. In the Portland metro area, there are countless great places to find a steamy bowl of chewy noodles drenched in gooey cheese. The Mac food cart in Tigard takes these bowls a step or two further, offering everything from typical protein additions such as ground, bacon, or smoked chicken as well as unexpected options like banana peppers, honey sriracha, and dill pickles. Beyond the noodles, the Mac also serves fried or smoked chicken strips, as well as potatoes slow-smoked in chicken drippings.

A table full of dishes from the Mac, including mac and cheese topped with crab legs and beef, a side of fried shrimp, and a side of corn.
Mac and cheese from the Mac.
The Mac

Related Maps