This week: Cartside Food Cart Pod opens up at the exact spot on N. Williams where you get snacky!
This week: Cartside Food Cart Pod opens up at the exact spot on N. Williams where you get snacky! Justin Wiegand

There's a battle happening right here in Portland, between the federal government and our state and city officials. Which means I NEED to eat a whole pizza. Do you feel the same? Good! So let's hit some Food News... and remember: If you're tempted give up after seeing the closings below, please don't! We've got lots of openings and switcheroos, too!

CLOSINGS


• Bad news for breakfast taco fans. Sunday July 19 will be the last day you can grab an Austin-style taco or three at Stella Taco on SE Division. The cheerful taco and margarita spot—which started out on NE Alberta in 2014—announced on Tuesday via social media:
Stella has had a mighty epic run, but it’s time to hang our hats and close our doors for the last time... We hope you join us and tell all of our friends to come out and have one last taco, some queso, and a damn tasty margarita this week.


• Compounding Portland's breakfast losses, NE Alberta's Back to Eden Bakery & Cafe has closed up shop. Pour one out for those plant-based, vegan, gluten free cupcakes that you could take to any party because they still tasted amazing. The GOOD NEWS is Back to Eden's farewell press release says they'll be passing their retail space on to "someone with a passion for serving the community nourishing heart-infused vegan & gluten free food." We'll keep our ears open for that!

OPENINGS AND SWITCHEROOS

• NEW FOOD CART POD ALERT! If you've been pedaling your bike past what appears to be a new pod on North Williams—between NE Broadway and NE Hancock—that, my friends, is Cartside Food Carts.

The opening of a cart pod is like the opening of multiple restaurants at once, and Cartside has a nice spread of cuisine. The carts assembled are: Dutch-style waffle cart Smaaken Waffle Sandwiches, Italian foodie spot L’unico, sushi burrito stand Let’s Roll, Korean street food stand Ko Sisters, healthy Mexican food cart Poblano Pepper, authentic Phi Phi Islands Thai food cart PP Thai, and Lebanese Mediterranean spot Yaba Yabaa. This fall, Cartside plans to build a large, covered deck to create more seats and make use of the pod's beautiful view of NW Portland's skyline.

(BONUS BEER SITUATION: Next door to Cartside sits Williams Taphouse, a brand new beer and wine bar with 25 different beers and ciders on tap. Our heart goes out to businesses opening during the pandemic, but being next door to an outdoor cart pod certainly helps.)

• Following up about that whole pizza I said I'm going to eat, Eater PDX reports that LA chef Doug Miriello just opened a New Haven-style pizza pop-up called Dimo’s Apizza in the former Mikkeller/former Burnside Brewing space on East Burnside. It's a lovely location and Dimo’s Apizza promises a thin (but not-too-thin) crust with plenty of char on the bottom, thanks to their coal-fired oven.

• We thank the generous heavens for the bounty of another vegan food cart. La Taquiza Vegana is open at the Rose City Food Park on NE Sandy. They're serving up vegan, gluten free Mexican street food inside homemade corn tortillas.

• More delicious carb news for your emotions: 24th & Meatballs owner Adam Berger just opened an Italian market and pasta place on NE 28th, where Poison's Rainbow used to hold court. The sticking point of Montelupo Italian Market is the homemade pasta, which they make daily, but right now the their grab and go dishes and sidewalk seating also make this adaptable outfit fit to thrive.

• More open patios can be found in the Mercury's Patio Pages. We've also been rounding up all the info on restaurants offering dine-in and outdoor dining here.

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NEWS AND GOSSIP

• On Monday July 13, Governor Kate Brown ordered people outdoors, who cannot physically distance, to wear a mask. Social gatherings are limited to parties of ten, but this doesn't include restaurants, so be smart out there, and WEAR A MASK!

• Are you scratching your head, trying to make sense of the series of explosive Portland restaurant industry callouts that streamed across the sky over Fourth of July weekend? Eater PDX has a deeply researched explainer on the storm of claims, which Yonder and Supper Club chef Maya Lovelace signal boosted on her social media before she herself had to answer complaints of creating a toxic work environment. In the fall out, the Oregonian reports that Luke Dirks, co-owner of Ava Gene’s and Tusk, says he's leaving Submarine Hospitality, the restaurant group he co-founded with chef Joshua McFadden. Complaints from some employees about Submarine Hospitality alleged that McFadden had created a toxic, hostile workplace.

• Last Friday July 10, the Montavilla neighborhood Burgerville employees briefly went on strike to allow further time for coworkers to get COVID-19 tests, after an employee at the location tested positive on Tuesday July 7. Eater PDX reports that workers went on strike through Monday July 13 and returned on Tuesday July 14.

• Make sure to send us all your food news and tips: food@portlandmercury.com.