True longevity is one of the hallmarks of an outstanding food cart. To be serving for more than six years, much less in the same location, is something akin to not only building, but also flying a full-size replica of the Spruce Goose made from tongue depressors. For the Portland Soup Company, it’s a milestone they’re happy to have achieved.

Portland Soup Company food cart exterior

Jeremy Davidson, the Portland Soup Company’s proprietor, has seen many food carts come and go since he opened his food cart. In “food cart years” The Portland Soup Company is, like, 75-years-old. Jeremy has also witnessed the amazing expansion of food carts all across Portland.

Passion is another of the hallmarks of long-lived food carts. Jeremy has always been passionate about cooking. He began cooking professionally while studying music in Eugene, OR. Trained in the styles of Western, Middle-Eastern and Italian cooking, Jeremy felt that soup would be the best vehicle for his culinary expressions.

Portland Soup Company soup with greens and a boiled egg

Seasonal variety is another of those hallmarks that you’ll find at successful food carts. At the Portland Soup Company variety is a distinct advantage as it allows them to adjust their menu to not only the weather of the seasons but to also celebrate the seasons with their varietal offerings.

Portland Soup Company tomato soup

It doesn’t hurt the long-term success of a food cart to have menu items that are popular with patrons. In the first summer after the Portland Soup Company opened, temperatures were regularly in the 90’s with one week having temperatures hovering around 100. Jeremy decided for that week to remove hot soup from the menu.

Portland Soup Company soup

It is rumored there were near riots (pitchforks, torches, and upset villagers) because of this decision. Hot soup was immediately returned to the menu. What kind of soup would cause such a reaction? It was the Tomato Reggiano. A creamy puree of roasted tomatoes, potatoes, onions, white wine, milk and Parmesan cheese garnished with cart-made garlic croutons.

Portland Soup Company salad

Should you also wish to have a sandwich with your soup, you can choose from several standards or one of the seasonal sandwiches. One of the most popular is the slow-smoked Carlton pork butt sandwich. The pork is brined for three days, smoked for four hours, and finished in lard. The sandwich is garnished with purple cabbage, apple slaw and Portland Soup Company’s own Nearly Famous Red River Valley BBQ sauce.

Salads and desserts are also on the menu. The salads are made with fresh ingredients and cart-made dressings. Dessert can be cakes or cookies which are also made in the cart.

The Portland Soup Company can be found at SW 4th and College right by PSU. The cart is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Jeremy Davidson about soup, Portland’s food cart history and what it takes to have a food cart that stands the test of time.