Mobile Food Pod Visits - San Francisco & Portland

Cartlandia in Portland

Mobile food pods are of great interest to me as everyone knows from my post "Mobile Food Pods Revitalize Neighborhoods". In the last couple of weeks I visited two in Portland and the new SOMA Streat Food Park in San Francisco. Just a quick post about how different pods can be.

The SOMA Streat Food Park is the first permanent pod site in San Francisco. It's fresh, it's new, it's hip. It is located in a triangular shaped lot behind the SOMA Costco. A year ago this lot was home to the homeless and addicts who hang out under the freeway that runs overhead. Today, it's a thriving street food scene where you will find families with children, grandparents, and dogs.

The SOMA Streat Food Park rents out to up to 10 trucks at a time with a lunch shift and a dinner shift. A few weeks ago it extended their Friday and Saturday hours to 4 a.m. It also has event permits to allow beer to be sold. It 's fenced in, clean, and can seat about 200 people. It has nice bathrooms, flat screen TVs, an ATM, and Wi-Fi. Check out the video.

The Mississippi Marketplace pod on the east side of Portland is one of the first. (Mississippi & Skidmore) The owner of the pub converted his parking lot into a pod by renting out space to about a dozen cart vendors who are permanently parked there.

The same owner opened his second pod, Cartlandia, on SE 82nd Ave. This was a used car lot before and another hang out for addicts and homeless. This site has customer parking and room for about 20 carts. There is also a bike path that runs right next to it, making it a popular stop on the weekends for bicyclists.  He's even brought a bike repair cart on site.

The one big difference between California and Portland is that California deals in food trucks while Portland has carts. The way they deal with permits is that as long as the cart has two wheels and an axle, it falls under vehicle code versus property code. The carts are also pretty much stationary. They find a private property with a spot and they pay rent and never move. 

This shows the range from truck (L) to shed (M) to trailer (R)

This cart-under-vehicle-code aspect means that carts can range from a full on RV, bus, truck, trailer, down to a Tuffshed with wheels thrown on it. It also means that people can get into a cart fairly cheaply since almost anything can be converted into a 'cart'. 

Here's where I got admit a bit of a preference to trucks just for looks alone. You can get an old 1970s food truck, but get a fresh custom wrap on it and it looks almost brand new. It's certainly more attractive than some of the thrown together carts. 

A well done wrap is a beautiful thing

So all of this is just a tease for you Sacramentans. The thing is, if the City Council passes the new ordinances this fall, we have the opportunity of up to five food pods in Sacramento. There's some exciting things on the food pod horizon and I can't wait to show the world how Sacramento intends to do food pods!