Beer and Food Carts

A couple of months back I was enlightened to the Portland food cart scene.  It’s fantastic that Portland is willing to embrace this new upcoming industry that allows talented people to get into the food industry for way cheaper than owning a restaurant.  It got me thinking, I’ve never really thought that I could run a restaurant and a brewery at the same time, which is the traditional sense of a brew pub.  Food carts for me present a interesting situation however, what if the two where brought together?  I’m thinking that if a brewery could be put down town with a large parking lot I could have food carts to provide the food and I could provide the indoor and outdoor seating and of course the beer. More or less I’d have the brewpub atmosphere and hangout spot and the food would be provided by the food carts.

My wife’s aunt and uncle have been thinking of moving to Salem from Portland, her aunt is a very talented baker for Elephants Delicatessen in Portland.  It just happens that she has been toying with the idea of starting a food cart in Salem.  If I could make it work with permitting and regulations in theory I should be able to have a pub like area within the brewery, a “tasting room” as you will, then have a food cart or two to provide the food maybe even have the food delivered to the “tasting room” as to be more convenient to patrons.   To me this would take a lot of pressure off me to try to run and staff a restaurant and would take a lot of pressure off of me financially.  Do you all think this could be a viable model?

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6 Responses

  1. There are plenty of voids in the downtown blocks where food carts would create pockets of activity and buzz better than the surface parking lots occupying the voids presently!

    That sounds like an interesting cooperative model. Wonder if it’s been tried anywhere else.

  2. Actually Ninkasi is doing it down in Eugene, I kind of used their idea for inspiration.

  3. At the Portland Architecture blog, Brian Libby has a timely discussion of the food cart phenomenon. Maybe there’s some more thought fodder there!

    How many carts does Ninkasi have clustered – how big is the cart pod?

    • I think Ninkasi is having different carts come in from day to day, I am a fan on their facebook site and every once in a while they announce a different food cart that they have on site.

  4. He doesn’t have his brewery at the cart, but Dylan Goldsmith now has a beer-cart that is part of a cart pod in SE Portland. http://pdx.eater.com/archives/2010/10/11/the-beer-cart-cometh-captured-by-porches-beer-bus.php

    I think your model is very viable. Several Colorado breweries are using the “rotating cart” method at their tasting room… including Great Divide and Twisted Pine. A brewery-based pod is just the next step in the evolution.

  5. Hi! I’m an architecture student working on a project for Salem. Starting a food cart pod along Portland Rd. is one of my big ideas (along with building live/work spaces and having an electric vehicle depot on-site), and I really like the idea of the brew-cart! Maybe if Salem likes my design you can be one of the first carts! 🙂

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