How can you go wrong when cooking your favorite food is the way you earn your living? Especially when burgers are the food you most enjoy. For Tony Kenaston of the T-N-T Grillin’ food cart, it’s the perfect combination of fixing favorites, hangin’ with people, and being your own boss.
After a stint in the Army as a ‘certified food specialist,’ a number of years spent in the restaurant industry, and owing and operating a carpet cleaning business, Tony wanted to continue as his own boss. But he wanted to get back to the thing he most enjoyed, cooking. So of course he chose to enter one of the most competitive niche restaurant markets in Portland, burgers.
Leaving aside all the great brick-and-mortar burger joints in PDX, the food cart universe itself is inhabited by some of the best burger outlets in the Rose City. And it was within this food cart Burgerverse that T-N-T has landed with a big bang.
T-N-T Grillin’ exploded on the scene in September 2015 at the Piedmont Station food cart pod on NE Killingsworth just a couple blocks east of MLK Boulevard. T-N-T Grillin’ get is name from two ideas. First, it’s a play on the theme of dynamite food and second, Tony’s kids reminded him that T-N-T also represents the first letters in their names.
And the dynamite food idea carries right into the menu. At the front edge of the blast wave is the TNT Explosion. A half-pound of Angus beef, with bacon, cheddar cheese, Apple Wood ham, a fried egg, and garnished with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a pickle spear. And all that nearly bursting from a grilled pub bun.
The Teriyaki Burger is composed of a one-third-pound Angus beef patty, Swiss cheese, a slice of grilled pineapple, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a Teriyaki sauce that Tony gets from a teriyaki restaurant in Beaverton.
The Cowboy Burger (some would call it a Texas burger) herds together a third-pound Angus beef patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, beer-batter onion rings, lettuce, tomato, topped with barbecue sauce fenced in with a grilled pub bun.
Tony also offers sandwiches at T-N-T Grillin’ one of which is his classic Philly. Shaved roast beef with sautéed green peppers and onions, provolone cheese, Sriracha mayo, on a grilled bun. If you would like mushrooms added, just ask. This sandwich also gets the approval from those have eaten a Philly cheesesteak sandwich in Philly.
T-N-T Grillin’ is open from 11:30 AM till 8:00pm Wednesday through Sunday. The cart is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The location again is 625 NE Killingsworth just a couple blocks east of Martin Luther King Boulevard. Tony is right in there with Halibut’s, PDX Dönerländ, and Burmasphere. There’s even a beer cart at Piedmont Station pod so you can enjoy a craft beer with your burger.