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Tasty Tuesday : Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack

Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack Logo

Typically when one of Portland’s food carts closes shop, that’s it for that culinary concept. The particular cuisine served by a cart will no longer be available when that cart closes. Except in the rare instance when the victuals served by that cart are so beloved that the new proprietor continues the menu. Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack is just such a story.

Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack food cart. View of service window.

Erik Mitchell, the second restaurateur to command the helm of Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack, first fell in love with the spicy fried chicken recipes of the Carolinas while working with the furniture manufactures of that region. He also recognized that Cackalack’s was doing an excellent job of replicating that spicy fried chicken in Portland.

As a business, Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack has been open since 2010. In food-cart years that’s like (multiply the temporal difference by remainder, carry the one…) something approaching fiftyish normal years. Especially with two different owners. Cackalack’s longevity is a testament to Erik’s business sense and his love of spicy fried chicken.

Fried chicken and chicken tenders from Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack food cart

In fact, Cackalack’s is thriving under Erik’s tenure. From the original location at SE 43rd and Belmont, Erik has expanded to a micro restaurant at Bethany Village Centre in northwest PDX and a second food cart at the Happy Valley Station food cart pod on SE Sunnyside Road.

Fried chicken and chicken tenders and pickles from Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack food cart

So what is spicy fried chicken you ask? It’s southern soul food combined with cayenne spices and Jalapeño peppers. The chicken is triple-dredged in a cayenne-laced dredge before being cooked. In fact, cayenne seasoning can be found throughout Cackalack’s menu. Four levels of zingyness are available with your chicken ranging from naked to XXX.

Biscuits and gravy and Fried chicken and bacon from Cackalack's Hot Chicken Shack food cart

The menu is anchored by classic southern-style fried chicken. Also available are such things as chicken and waffles, chicken sandwiches, chicken wings, chicken tenders, biscuits and gravy (with chicken and bacon), and chicken salad. All of the dipping sauces, biscuits, and even the pickles are made fresh in the cart.

Each of Cackalack’s locations are open seven days a week from 11:30 AM (Bethany) and Noon (SE Belmont) till 8 PM with slighty shorter hours on Sunday. At the time this blog was posted, the hours at Happy Valley Station were still to be decided.

Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Erik Mitchell of Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack about spicy chicken and successfully acquiring and sustaining an established food cart.

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

Producer : Tasty Tuesday at Portland Radio Project
The Ultimate Food Cart Wingman and the Official Cat Herder of the Tasty Tuesday morning show on Portland Radio Project.
Ken Wilson

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