A fully vegan cart center in Portland seems like a no-brainer.
But Shady Pines, the city’s first all-plant capsule, had a bit of bad luck with its timing. Launched by the owners of Fatsquatch, the pod was scheduled to open in the Cully neighborhood in the spring of 2020 after regularly generating a hype with sporadic soft openings earlier in the year.
For obvious reasons, the official inauguration never took place. And its most unique equipment – a comfortable indoor seating area with turquoise walls and wood paneling – has rarely been opened in the past year. This does not appear to have hampered the business, however. Even in the late afternoon to the middle of the week, there is usually a constant flow of people having heavy vegan meals.
Part of that is due to the pod’s mix of established favorites – like smothered onion rings in Fatsquatch sauce and Sushi Love’s Don’t Be Shellfish roll topped with oyster mushrooms – and intriguing newcomers, like the aromatic Safframen with Persian influence.
The biggest escape success is arguably Dirty Lettuce. The Mississippi Transplant serves seitan versions of lower house favorites like barbecued ribs and fried chicken with a rotating fan of classic south sides.
While it’s more for soul-hungry vegans and curious omnivores than die-hard foodies, Shady Pines embodies what makes his carts so beloved: rich, filling and unique plant-based dishes.