By Tara Williams | CNA Media Team
A meat-eater, a vegan and an ovo-lacto-pescatarian walk into a food cart pod. Start of a joke?
Not at Shady Pines, 5240 N.E. 42nd Ave., where all dietary lifestyles can enjoy satisfying food choices with a free side of environmental sustainability.
Founded by Lukah Churchill, Christine Neary, and Lindsey and Ashley Butler, the all-vegan pod opened last March.
Currently, three of the six carts are open Thursdays-Sundays. Dirty Lettuce – recently nominated for Food Cart of the Year by Veg Times – was due to reopen Jan. 20.
Lukah, aka “Uncle Squatchy,” looks forward to relaunching Fatsquatch and its vegan comfort food soon. It’s owned by the Shady Pines founders, and you can track its re-opening plans at FatsquatchPDX.com.
Ramblin’ Rose will be serving up vegan, coconut-milk-based frozen treats upon return from winter renovations Stay tuned at RamblinRose.express.
“All of the carts here are women-, BIPOC- and/or LGBTQ-owned,” Lukah said. “We’re excited about creating a presence of intersectionality and using food to bring people together.”
Details about the pod are available at @ShadyPinesVeganFoodCourt and Facebook.com/shadypinesveganfoodcourt.
Dirty Lettuce, started as a family business in Mississippi, focused on burgers and fries.
“I’m a picky eater who doesn’t like vegan food much,” said Alkebulan Moroski. “Then I learned to cook.” He strives to appeal to – and convert – meateaters with authentic Cajun and Creole dishes.
“If you can get the look and texture of meat, the mental half of the battle is won,” he reported. Study of environmental science in college convinced him industrial meat is unsustainable.
Why the move from the deep South to the Northwest? Customers and ingredients. “It allowed us to fully veganize the menu,” Moroski said.
SushiLove founders Diandra Totten and Ashley Craemer hope vegan sushi – like that served at the women-owned and staffed food cart – can slow the consumption of sea life by providing satisfying alternatives. “
When people eat a spicy tuna roll, it’s not just tuna they are consuming,” Diandra said. “Large fishing nets can destroy habitats and species. While catching fish, they destroy coral reefs and larger mammals as ‘by-kill.’ A dead ocean is a dead Earth. The ocean is vital to keep our planet thriving.”
Armon Paktel and Zoe Lichlyter started Safframen as a weekly pop-up in 2019. “We took our immigrant parents’ Persian and Japanese backgrounds and fused those cuisines into a bastard hybrid concept that ended up working somehow,” Armon explained.
The small, hyper-focused menu hides a vegan pun at its core. “In Japanese, Tonkotsu is the style of ramen usually made from pork bones. ‘Ton’ means pig, and ‘kon’ means corn. So Konkotsu ramen is corn-kotsu ramen,” he revealed.
Avocadamama co-founder Taylor Solomon calls the cart’s menu items the creamiest, most flavorful mac and cheese you’ll find. She and partner Nathaniel Perales launched as a YouTube channel in 2017, then found themselves wanting to do more than teach people how to cook.
“I wanted to cook for them. Mac and cheese is such a staple,” Taylor said. “We wanted to provide the vegan scene with the best.”
Tara Williams is new to Concordia and loving life on Liberty Street. She’s a writer and English professor, not always in that order. Contact her at Eudaimonia. Dr.Williams@gmail.com.