By Carrie Wenninger | CNA Media Team
Gloomy Portland winter weather got you down? Visiting Loncheria Los Mayas offers a quick trip to the Yucatan, no air travel or reservations required.
Here in the parking lot in front of Alder Commons at 4212 N.E. Prescott St., you’ll find a charming food cart offering Mexican specialties from the home state of proprietors Manuela Interian and Fredi Castillo.
Although for the moment their warm and sunny smiles are hidden behind COVID-safe masks, their culinary offerings are sure to communicate a deep love of food and a sense of place.
“The poc chuc – citrus-marinated, grilled pork – is quite unusual and people love it,” Manuela shared. “Try new things, one at a time, like the panuchos – stuffed tortillas – and salbutes – crisp-fried tortillas with toppings. And come back to explore other items when you can.”
Their intention is to build relationships with the community, and they encourage customers to return to try new dishes, depending on the season, the weather and one’s appetite.
Anything can be made vegetarian, and there are vegan options, too. Just inquire.
The couple came to the United States 20 years ago with a dream to build a business for themselves and their family. By working diligently, their objective was realized through sharing the food of their home country.
Other banks denied them loans despite having known them for years. Point West Credit Union stepped in, believed their vision was worth investing in and assisted them with the hefty expense of securing their cart and equipment.
To say they are grateful for the opportunity may be an understatement.
Originally opened in 2017 in the Cully neighborhood, Loncheria Los Mayas has been at this new location since July. Matt Faunt and Edy Martinez – of Native American Youth and Family Center and Our 42nd Avenue – assisted in finding the space.
Manuela and Fredi also expressed their appreciation to community members for their support, and to Karl Keefer and Rachel Munzig at Alder Commons.
The community space provides a storage area and assists with logistics, while all the food – including the handmade tortillas – is made in-house in the cart’s tiny kitchen.
Dine socially-distanced at outside tables, order to go or inquire about catering at 503.754.3059 or LoncheriaLosMayas@gmail.com. It’s open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.
Carrie Wenninger lives on 29th Avenue in Concordia. She is a freelance writer, a mom, a world traveler and a small business marketing consultant. Contact her at WurdGurl@gmail.com.