Tag: Yard At Montavilla

Residents Invited to May 26th Vestal Event

Later this month, Montavilla’s Vestal Elementary School will host its annual Social Justice Night. Starting at 4:30 p.m. on May 26th, Students and professional artists will showcase their work featuring collaborative artistic creations focused on community diversity and family identity. These themes represent two of Vestal’s five pillars of social justice. Organizers anticipate that this evening full of art, food, music, and community will strengthen the school’s role as a hub within this diverse neighborhood.

Funded in 2022 by a Metro’s Community Placemaking grant, with collaboration from PSU’s Artist as Citizen Initiative and arts nonprofit Montavilla Jazz, Vestal Elementary expects to expand programming for the yearly event. A welcoming dinner will occur before the performance at The Yard food carts, located directly across from the school, with complimentary meals coordinated with support from Samira Mohamed, owner of Mira’s East African Cuisine.

Before the event, the Artist as Citizen Initiative will lead PSU Capstone students and Vestal 4th graders in projects designed to build artistic skills in storytelling, interviewing, and creativity. All works center on community diversity and family identity, using information gathered in interviews with fellow students and community members. The artists will display their student-led social justice exhibits at the May event.

Located outdoors on the playground and inside the gymnasium at 161 NE 82nd Avenue, the Social Justice Night will include performances by renowned jazz musicians, including Grammy award-winning trombonist Denzel Mendoza. He is joined by Machado Mijiga, saxophonist Mary-Sue Tobin, and other performers and educators from the community.

For those who can not attend in person, PSU students will create a multipart podcast documentary featuring themes from the evening. PSU’s Sonic Arts and Music Production (SAMP) students and Friends of Noise will utilize field recordings captured during the creative phase of the project and at the May 26th event. Montavilla Jazz will distribute the podcast on montavillajazz.org, in addition to broadcasts on local radio stations.

Vestal community members, partners, and neighborhood residents are all invited to attend. Come hungry for food, music, and artistic expression.

Food Carts on the Move

Portland’s food carts tend to stay in one place, causing patrons to forget that they have wheels. However, these mobile kitchens can change locations, and at least two local carts are on the move early next year. Although these popular dining destinations are heading out of Montavilla, they are still a short trip away.

In an Oregonian interview released last week, Erica Montgomery revealed that Erica’s Soul Food would be moving from the space next to Henry’s Market at 803 SE 82nd Avenue. “Early next year, Montgomery plans to transport her truck to the courtyard next to Lottie & Zula’s, a New England style sandwich shop in the former Toro Bravo space at 120 N.E. Russell St.” The new location is just under six miles away, near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Erica’s Soul Food will share an outdoor dining space with Lottie & Zula’s at the new site. This move appears to be the next phase of a strengthening relationship between the two ventures. Lottie & Zula’s co-owner frequents Montgomery’s cart, admiring her cooking and work ethic. This year, both restaurants collaborated on a meatloaf sandwich sold as a fundraiser for Equitable Giving Circle. Later, Montgomery used the restaurant’s larger kitchen for a catering event when it exceeded the cart’s capacity. 

Just down 82nd Ave from Erica’s, La Taquiza Vegana is leaving the food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street. As one of the original carts from The Yard at Montavilla’s opening this summer, its time in the area was short-lived. Devyn Marie, Co-Owner and Operations Manager for La Taquiza Vegana, explained that they only planned to stay in the old location for five months. “The Yard was always just a temporary spot for us while we waited for our permanent location to be completed.” They are relocating to a new food cart pod at 2216 SE 50th Ave. Although the owners appreciated the community in the neighborhood, Marie said the team wanted to work closer to the city center. “We really enjoyed being a part of the Montavilla neighborhood for the short time we were there. The location is just too far out for us as we like to be more centrally located.”

The loss of these two neighborhood carts will likely disappoint some customers, particularly area vegans. La Taquiza Vegana only serves vegan foods. Erica’s Soul Food offers an extensive vegan menu and standard options. The other vegan food cart located at the Yard, Little Ethiopia Eatery, closed down permanently last October. With these two carts’ departure, there are very few vegan cart options in the area.

The exciting part of food cart culture is the constant change in options. People create new dining experiences, and customers rarely have the chance to become bored with the selections. Although these moves may disrupt some customer behavior, dedicated patrons will seek them out. Look for something new to arrive at the soon-to-be-vacant cart locations and visit some old friends when they settle in their new homes. 

Expanded Sidewalk by Yard at Montavilla

This week, crews installed the final segments of the fence surrounding the Yard at Montavilla. The food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street opened in July but maintained construction fencing around the property until this recent work began. The new barrier opens up two new pedestrian entry points along 82nd Avenue and eventually will accommodate wider paved sidewalks.

The black spear-top metal fence wraps the Yard at Montavilla on NE Davis Street and 82nd Avenue. The new boundary for the food cart pod provides a 15-foot setback from the curb on 82nd Avenue. Next year, the five-foot-wide sidewalk will expand to encompass the area now covered in gravel, creating a vastly larger walkway. “The Sidewalk will continue all the way up to our new fence. So it will be a very wide Pedestrian Zone sidewalk right there,” explained Kevin Dennis, co-owner of the Yard at Montavilla. 

According to Dennis, the 82nd Avenue sidewalk expansion work will start Spring of 2022. Crews will add a new ADA ramp at the corner and paint fresh crosswalk markings as part of the project. Along with other landscaping, the Yard at Montavilla’s owners planted three street trees near the new fence, evenly spaced along the NE 82nd Avenue property line. Together, the expanded walkway and trees create a model sidewalk under the new Civic Corridor guidelines.

In May 2019, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted the 82nd Avenue Plan, creating a Civic Corridor on 82nd Avenue. The document outlines expanded right-of-way dedication and frontage improvements, with sidewalks that range from 12 feet to 15 feet. Pedestrian District’s call for fifteen feet or wider walkways. They must also maintain a clear Pedestrian Through Zone of eight feet. This property is outside the Montavilla Pedestrian District, ending at E Burnside street. Properties on 82nd Avenue outside Pedestrian Districts only need to provide a 12-foot wide sidewalk and a Pedestrian Through Zone of six feet. The additional pavement added to this project beyond the requirements is supportive of the most pedestrian-friendly city designs. It should create a comfortable place for people to gather as they transition into the food cart pod without blocking pedestrians walking through the area.

As the weather warms, look for road crews working on the new larger sidewalk. Until then, the extra space is already accessible, and asphalt paths through the two new gates make it easier to drop in and grab a meal from a Yard at Montavilla cart.

The Yard at Montavilla Opening Weekend

Yesterday, The Yard at Montavilla opened to customers for the first time. The new food cart pod has space for sixteen vendors, although only a handful are currently serving customers during the first few days. Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the food vendor collective sits on a corner lot across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary School.

La Taquiza Vegana – All Vegan Mexican Street Food

The early days of operation are encouraging for the cart operators. A small but steady flow of customers have ventured in to see what carts are open. July 4th is set as the official first day, although not all food carts are starting at the same time. Today La Taquiza Vegana and Bobablastic were serving customers.

covered seating area

Staff completed all the amenities for the food cart pod ahead of this weekend. Portable restrooms and handwashing stations are set up near the trash enclosure. A large covered seating area is surrounded by standup umbrella tables, protecting the customers from the summer sun. 

Portable restrooms and hand washing stations

An ATM is on-site for those who wish to pay in cash. However, the vendors open today all accept credit card payments.

The list of carts is below, but The Yard at Montavilla website has updated information on what vendors are open this weekend. Make some time to stop by and visit with the cart operators and snag some delicious food.

La Taquiza Vegana – All four taco options
  • Guisados PDX – Mexican Food
  • East African Cuisine
  • Kings of Steak – Philly Cheese Steaks
  • Bai Yok Thai Food
  • Wood Fired Pizza
  • Shawarma Express – Mediterranean Food
  • Bobablastic – BobaTea, Poke Bowl, Hot Dog, Fries
  • Scout Beverages, Inc. – Beer & Wine
  • Taj Mahal Punjabi – Indian Cuisine
  • La Taquiza Vegana – All Vegan Mexican Street Food
  • Little Bear – Bingsu Tofu Popcorn Chx
  • Esan Thai Food Cart – Thai Food
  • Ricky’s Sushi – Sushi Rolls & Appetizers

NE 82nd Food Cart Pod Opens July 4th

Montavilla’s newest culinary destination opens next month. The Yard At Montavilla began development over a year ago, and now construction is nearing completion. Food carts will start arriving this week as electricians install the hookups necessary to power the mobile kitchens.

Last week crews paved the asphalt surface covering most of the corner lot at 8220 NE Davis Street. Workers will complete a shared trash enclosure and other finishing touches in the next few weeks. Several small changes to the infrastructure caused permitting delays that pushed back the original opening date. At this point, not too much more can delay the opening of this highly anticipated eating destination.

Co-owner of The Yard At Montavilla, Jeffrey Dennis, explained that they plan to host a trial run ahead of the official launch of the cart pod. “We’re hoping to open the weekend of June 25th for a soft opening and have July 4th be a Grand Opening weekend.” He went on to say that they have rented all but three of the 16 food carts spaces. Below is a listing of vendors at the cart pod, including Bai Yok Thai Food, who operated a restaurant in this same space before it burned down in 2016.

  • Guisados PDX – Mexican Food
  • East African Cuisine
  • Kings of Steak – Philly Cheese Steaks
  • Bai Yok Thai Food
  • Wood Fired Pizza
  • Shawarma Express – Mediterranean Food
  • Bobablastic – BobaTea, Poke Bowl, Hot Dog, Fries
  • Scout Beverages, Inc. – Beer & Wine
  • Taj Mahal Punjabi – Indian Cuisine
  • La Taquiza Vegana – All Vegan Mexican Street Food
  • Little Bear – Bingsu Tofu Popcorn Chx
  • Esan Thai Food Cart – Thai Food
  • Ricky’s Sushi – Sushi Rolls & Appetizers

Being located across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary, this is a prime location to serve a hungry community. Its launch date coincides with a national easing of COVID-19 restrictions and just in time for summer adventures. Expect new carts to start showing up soon and a buzz of activity as people ready for the imminent opening.


Images courtesy The Yard At Montavilla

82nd Food Cart Pod Construction

Demolition crews began work clearing the property that will soon become The Yard At Montavilla. Heavy equipment removed two foundations and other buried remnants from the two houses that once occupied this location. With the ground cleared, work can start on Montavilla’s newest food cart pod.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have many of those spaces leased already. The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. However, those delays are behind the project, and work should complete within three to four months.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for residents looking to expand their food options. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Expect to see crews onsite for the next few months, building the new dining destination’s infrastructure.


Photographs by Weston Ruter. Rendering provided by The Yard at Montavilla

Food Cart Pod Underway

With approved permits expected by the year’s end, Montavilla’s newest food destination could open by Spring. The Yard At Montavilla began development over a year ago. Now, after a long wait for approval, the developers expect to break ground by mid-January.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have leased six of those spaces already. One of those signed vendors is Scout Beer, a veteran of beer cart operations. In 2009 Scout started as a cart vendor. A few years ago, Scout Beer opened The Lot @ Scout, a food cart pod on SE Division.

The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. The project only recently started to gain momentum. “We just found out last week that our on-site permits were approved and are moving through the pre-issuance department at the city,” explained Jeffrey Dennis. The construction process will be relatively fast. Dennis predicts that the project will take three or four months to complete after work begins.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for local foodies and the many people working in the area. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Look for work to begin in the new year and watch the business’s website for updates on carts joining the pod.

Food Cart Pod Coming

The two vacant lots across from Vestal could soon become a food cart pod. Back in August of 2016 Baiyok Thai Cuisine, and one other business, burnt down across from Vestal Elementary School on NE 82nd Ave. Now those two lots are being combined. A reader called our attention to a new permit application for 160 NE 82ND Ave. “Convert 2 lots to new food cart pod, including grading, paving, and installation of utilities and stormwater facility.”

According to documents, The Yard At Montavilla will likely be the name for this new cart pod. Based on the names provided on the Early Assistance application and a LLC filing. The same documents show that both Jeffrey Dennis and Kevin L. Dennis are attached to this project. They are behind a few other Portland developments, notably the The Hollywood 12 and The Hollywood 8 (Surprisingly the demolition of Baiyok Thai Cuisine and the building notice for the two Hollywood buildings, aperade in the same Star News article back in 2017). It is exciting to see a food related business return to this site. Up to this point it has been used as a parking lot or sat vacant.

With the loss of the food carts that had been part of the Beets Auto location, now demolished, this food cart pod will bring back carts to this area of Montavilla. We look forward to seeing what develops there and hopefully we can be eating there by this summer.