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Tasty Tuesday : PDX Sliders

Header graphic for the blog post about PDX Sliders

The challenge in operating a food cart is that you must be equally good a two things. Running a business and cooking. Well, three things actually. You must have excellent customer service. For Ryan Rollins, it was the cooking that had him wondering if starting a food cart was such a good idea. But within two-and-a-half years PDX Sliders would be strong and growing.

Within those two years the original cart, which opened on January 2014 at SE 17th and Tacoma, has been joined by two mobile trucks for events and weddings. Next on the journey, PDX Sliders will be providing the food for Ancestry Brewing. Ryan and his crew will be cooking for both Ancestry’s tap room in Tualatin and a second location in the Sellwood district.

A photo of the PDX Sliders food cart

With such success in so short a time, you’d think Ryan came from a food service/restaurant background. As either a restaurant manager or an executive chef. Not so much. Ryan was bidding government IT contracts when he decided to open a food cart. As he puts it; “the ultimate leap of faith.”

Ryan identified a small niche in Portland’s foodie landscape that appeared to be under-served. Specifically, sliders. Those small burgers that he had been fond of after enjoying an evening of tasty adult beverages. Rather than multi-layer, multi-patty burgers swarming with ingredients, PDX Sliders chose to go small.

A photo of one of the sandwiches from the PDX Sliders food cart

With hard work, sacrifice, and serving good food with consistent quality, Ryan and PDX Sliders have met their ultimate challenge in building the business. The effort has paid off with the partnership with Ancestry Brewing.

PDX Sliders does not serve the traditional slider. Rather than a thin beef patty with cheese and onions on a plain white bun, you’ll find braised pork, pecan-smoked pork, fried chicken, corned beef, plain ol’ beef, and even veggie versions.

A photo of one of the sandwiches from the PDX Sliders food cart

The most popular item on the menu is the Sellwood (all the sliders are named for PDX bridges). A beef patty with bacon, Beecher’s Cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, and aioli on a Brioche bun. The Tilikum has buttermilk fried chicken, house-made barbecue sauce, and creamy slaw on a ciabatta roll.

A number of awards have been given to PDX Sliders for their food. Eat Mobile, The Portland Food Cart Festival and The Bite of Oregon have all granted ‘best of’ accolades to Ryan and his crew. While the awards are an affirmation of hard work, it’s the hard work and sacrifice that has brought PDX Sliders to this place in their journey.

PDX Sliders food cart is open Monday through Saturday; 11 AM to 7 PM and 12 PM till 7 PM on Sundays. You can reach PDX Sliders at (971) 717–5271 is you wish to have them cater your event.

Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Ryan Rollins about taking that leap of faith and putting in the hours to see the dream realized.

Ken Wilson
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