Food Carts Galore

Corvallis has seen its fair share of food carts come and go over the last 10 years.

Most locals are aware of the hot dog cart in front of Starbucks on Madison Avenue, McWeenies. Recently there have been a few new food carts popping up around town, and one lesser known gem that has maintained a position on the OSU campus for five years. Here is a little preview of all the small but delicious food carts in town and their tasty menu offerings.

Hailing from Albany, where they have an established location, N’Reener’s New York Style Sandwiches can be seen in various pop-up locations around Corvallis. On April 20 they were discovered outside of High Quality Dispensary, taking advantage of the green holiday and the lines of people waiting to get inside the marijuana retailer. During college football season they can be found in the parking lot of Reeser Stadium on home game days, catering to the tailgating crowd. Offering New York-style sandwiches on a hoagie bun, one can choose from cheese steak, Italian sausage, hot pastrami, or chicken cheese steak. All sandwiches are served with a bag of chips—it’s a great deal at $8 each.

The bright pink exterior paint on The Pink Rib food cart makes this one hard to miss. With offerings such as pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, and whole racks of ribs with side dishes, this BBQ cart has grown to be a local favorite for those in the know. They even serve breakfast which includes a sizeable serving of biscuits and gravy topped with an egg and pulled pork, sprinkled with Tillamook cheddar and garnished with blackberry BBQ sauce. My mouth is watering just writing about it!

Normally The Pink Rib is set up at the corner of Highway 34 and Peoria Road in the side lot of the Corvallis Market. This spring they are branching out with multiple carts and can also be found on Saturdays at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market on 1st Street. We hear they will be mysteriously popping up all over town in fairly quick order, too. Be sure to check their Facebook page for up-to-date hours as they frequently change.

College students have been eating at Cheesy Stuffed Burgers, a seasonal food cart, since 2012. Co-owner Mark Encke said his food cart business has really grown over the years thanks to the dedication of his college clientele and one-of-a-kind specialty burgers. Serving an assortment of handmade, half-pound, cheese-stuffed burgers made of grass-fed beef along with fries, this food cart is a busy campus hit during the spring and fall terms. Cheesy Stuffed Burgers is located in a cozy little nook at 1545 Monroe Street and open Thursday through Saturday from 7 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. Be prepared to wait for your delicious burger, as there is almost always a line. But believe me, it is totally worth the wait. I highly recommend the Spicy Sriracha Meltdown burger—spicy and yummy! When asked if he had anything else he would like to say, Encke shared this: “Come down on a Friday night and see what all of the fuss is about!”

Happy Shawarma is the newest addition to the Corvallis food cart scene, having opened in February of this year. The colorful orange food cart is located at 545 SW 3rd Street in front of Phil’s Transmissions. Owner Ali Aldubaini is pleased to have scored such a highly visible location for his Mediterranean cuisine. The menu offers Middle Eastern dishes such as shawarma, falafel sandwiches, and lamb burgers. Aldubaini saw a need for this sort of food cart in town. “No one else serves this type of food,” he said, “and the food cart makes it very accessible.”

Now that you know about all the delicious food cart options that Corvallis has to offer, you should go give them a try. You can thank me later.

By Jennifer Moreland