Portland Walking Tours

Food Cart Fun Facts

March 23rd, 2012

The Food Cart frenzy continues! To help you be among the few “in the know” elite food cart connoisseurs, we’ve assembled these juicy tidbits to mull over while you’re munching:

  • Multnomah County recognizes three types of carts: Fixed, Mobile and Drive-Thru.
  • Over 700 mobile food units (all three types) are licensed in the Portland area.
  • There are 1.5 Multnomah County inspectors dedicated solely to carts (as of Jan 2010)
  • Food handler cards are required for all persons working in a food cart – just like a restaurant.
  • To be considered a food cart, the unit must:
    • Be a vehicle
    • Be on wheels
    • Be moveable at any time
    • Not have permanent connections to any utility
  • Carts must be 16 feet or less in length. Those over 16′ are considered “heavy trucks.”
  • Opening a food cart requires an initial payment of $630 to the City for licenses and plan review and $340 annually.
  • Food cart bloggers identify:
    • 81 different cuisines offered by food carts.
    • 19 downtown pods, 7 in North Portland, 5 in Northeast, 15 in Southeast, and 1 in Northwest
  • Ethnic food carts dominate!
    • Among “ethnic” food carts, the ethnicity with the most carts is Mexican, wtih at least 46.
    • Second most is Thai. There are at least 34 Thai food carts – about 1/4 the number of “regular” Thai restaurants.
    • Adding them together, there are approximately one Thai art or restaurant per every 10.7 persons of Thai descent)
  • 26 Carts use GoBox, a reusable container for serving hot food to go.
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