Portland’s 5th Avenue Food Cart Pod Reopens as Midtown Beer Garden

For more than 30 years before Cartopia, before Prost Marketplace, before Portland Mercado, food cart lines stretched along Portland’s Southwest Fifth Avenue between Southwest Harvey Milk Street and Southwest Oak Street. I was. The store’s existence in downtown Portland predates the city’s idea of ​​a “pod,” a collection of food carts with communal seating, fire pits and string lights. That’s what I mean. The Fifth Avenue pod had none of those. It didn’t have catchy names like Barley Pod or Lil America. There were only carts that became a lunchtime tradition for downtown workers, and tourist fuel during the city’s heyday.

That is about to change. Investments from financial apps and adjacent company Expensify will see the Southwest Fifth Avenue pod undergo a major renovation and update, featuring 30-cart space, seating for over 300 people, a bar cart with draft beer, and concerts. A stage will be set up for and event.

Chefstable, a restaurant group that includes St. Jacques and Lardo, is helping to redevelop the pod, which will also be renamed Midtown Beer Garden. Chefstable is also partnering with his BIPOC and LGBTQIA-focused food cart his pod Lil’ America, which opened earlier this year. “What I personally love about this project is that it allows us to have a greater impact on the neighborhood and create a dynamic in the neighborhood much faster than we can do other restaurants,” he said. Kurt Huffman says.

The Southwest Fifth Avenue pod has faced its own set of challenges in recent years. Pod lost a large part of its customer base as the pandemic forced employees to work from home and tourists to stay home. The cart owner has dealt with continued vandalism. Then, in the summer of 2022, a food cart exploded inside the pod, damaging other nearby carts. Accordingly, the updated pods are fully fenced and provide always-on-site security, including guards and night patrols while the pods are closed.

The pods also offer a daily cleaning service and heated tents for seating. As a perk to cart owners, the pod theoretically offers his first month’s rent free to any business he opens when the pod opens in July 2023. increase.

“Expensify’s global headquarters are right next to our Fifth and Harvey Milk food truck pods, and we go there every day,” said Expensify founder and CEO David Barrett in a press release. . “We’ve been in bad luck for a long time, and we’re working with the rest of Midtown to turn things around.”

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