Bend's food cart scene was on the rise in 2014. Case in point: Former food cart turned brick-and-motor restaurant Spork and Bend's first food cart pod, The Lot, were both positively reviewed in a little newspaper known as The New York Times.
Throughout the city, dozens of carts scattered around town (granted mostly on the westside) flourished in the summer and are keeping their kitchen doors open during the winter months.
As with any emerging trend and "scene," there are changes and upheavals. Recently, The Lot lost The Brown Owl, and plans to move a different cart into the vacant space.
"I feel very fortunate that there has been a tremendous amount of interest among cart owners who wish to be a part of what we have created," explained David Staley, owner of The Lot in response to the recent departure. "On the flip side, it has been very hard to choose which carts are included and which carts I have to turn down. Now that we have been open for over a year, the feedback that I hear most frequently is that our regulars and the community as a whole would like to see variety and rotation of the carts. That is part of the fun of food trucks, they are movable, which keeps the scene and culture around them dynamic."
Here's a loose roundup of The Lot's current lineup and offerings (along with gas fire places and heated seats), as well as a check-in with other carts to try around town.
Carts at The Lot, 745 NW Columbia Ave.
Mauna Kea Grill: Hawaiian-style BBQ plates. Mountains of meats and rice with delicious sauces! Everyday: 11am-8 pm.
Real Food Bistro: Food that is real! From Reubens to tacos to soups and sandwiches and a rotating menu of specials. Everyday: 11am-9pm.
Rico's Tacos: Tried and true authentic Mexican. Everyday: 11am-9pm.
Thailandia: Flavorful Thai classics from fired rice to drunken noodles, curries, and soups. Everyday: 11am-9pm.
Carts you can find around town:
Bethlyn's Global Fusion: Healthy and global creations with excellent vegetarian options and ethnic flair. 1040 NW Galveston. Tuesday-Friday: 11am-6pm, Saturday: 11 am-3 pm.
Bend Soup Company: Liquid goodness for the winter months with hot offerings like chilies, and of course, soups. 30 SW Century Dr. Monday-Friday: 11am-3:30pm. Saturday: 11am-2pm.
Broken Top BBQ: House slow-smoked, Texas-style meaty goodness, with one of our favorite BBQ sauces around.
New location in February. Hours TBD.
The Brown Owl: Choose the sandwich, burrito, burger or bowl, and other countrified American breakfast and lunch options. Cart location TBD.
The Curry Shack: Indian and South-Asian street food.Starting Tuesday, January 13, parked at the corner of Greenwood Ave. & 2nd St. Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm.
Dump City: Voted Bend's Best Food Cart A.K.A. best place to get steamy delicious goodness after a long night out. Downtown Bend. Open here and there weekends in January with all new experimental recipes.
El Sancho: The street tacos of kings. CRUX Fermentation Project, 50 SW Division St. Monday: 4pm-9pm, Friday-Sunday: Noon-8pm.
Num-Nums Korean Food Cart: Fresh meat! Korean and Asian cuisine. Century Center, 70 SW Century Dr. Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-4pm.
Parrilla Satellite: Your favorite fish tacos, served with Wild Ride Brewery beer. Wild Ride Brewery, Redmond. Monday-Sunday: 11am-9pm.
Pihuamo's Tacos: Based on the cuisine of Jalisco, Mexico, delicious authentic street fare. 950 SE 3rd St. Monday-Saturday: 10am-9pm.
Ronin: This new mobile sushi slinger and Japanese grill. 130 NW Century Drive at Skjersaa's Ski and Board Shop. Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-4pm.
Shred Town: With a constantly rotating menu, this is the ski bum's dream cart. 1009 Northwest Galveston Ave. At Aspect Boards and Brews. Everyday: 8am-7pm.
Taste of Thailand: Authentic Thai cuisine. 696 NE Greenwood Ave. Everyday: 9am-7:30pm.
Jerk Kings: Island food for the rest of us. Humm Kombucha, 1125 NE 2nd St. Monday 11am-2pm Hertz Car Care Center (off US Hwy 20) Friday: 11am-2pm.