A new food cart module, with a cocktail bar run by a Portland industry veterinarian, is opening off the division. Hinterland Bar & Carts will open in September with high profile carts like Burger Stevens and cocktails designed to match the carts.
Hinterland comes from Ryan Schenk and Rowan Dunlap, who have lived in the neighborhood for a decade. The space is built around a bar, surrounded by outdoor seating and lined with a handful of food carts. The two originally planned to build a full-scale bar — “a place where people could congregate,” in Schenk’s words — but as the pandemic raged, the lure of a food cart with many Outdoor seating seemed attractive. “Part of us being in the neighborhood and seeing things grow and change is the rise and fall of food cart pods at developments,” Dunlap says. “We see those spaces as really valuable, and we wanted to create a space like this that was still really accessible.”
Still, the two wanted to make sure they kept an accessible cocktail bar at the center of the project, one that would work in conjunction with the pod carts. To run the bar, the two would therefore need a good general manager, someone who knows the industry and can design drinks that work with a wide variety of cuisines. Dunlap and Schenk decided to contact someone in the know: Brett Heiney, the general manager of the now closed Trifecta. Heiney had one man in mind: Taylor Gehrts, a Trifecta alum who has also worked at places like now-shuttered Spanish spot Masia, eclectic Smallwares and Italian destination Nostrana. When Gehrts met Dunlap and Schenk, it looked like a good fit. “It seemed like we had the same idea. We want it to be an elevated bar program, but to be accessible,” he says. “You can get a big boy and a glass of whiskey, but also a good negroni.”
The Hinterland Bar will feature all the classics: 10 rotating beer taps, an extensive wine list and a selection of classic drinks and Gehrts creations from years past. Like the Collective Oregon Eateries incoming bar, however, Hinterland will have at least one matching drink for each of Hinterland’s carts, whether it’s a soft drink or a stronger drink. For example, the Let’s Roll PDX burrito sushi cart will take up one of the slots in Hinterland; Gehrts thought he might try something like a shiso-yuzu shrub for Let’s Roll, to work with the flavors of sushi. “I want to play with cooking, but I won’t be too convinced not to associate myself with something else,” says Gehrts. “I’ve worked with a lot of different cuisines, I’m a big fan of food and drink. Catching the influences of different cuisines is one of my big interests.
The food cart pod itself will house between five or six carts, with seating inside and outside. Currently, Dunlap and Schenk estimate that the outdoor patio will accommodate around 120 people, with around 40 more seats inside. “I guess people will always want to be more comfortable outside, so we’ll have access to the bar from the front patio, there will be a huge open window for people to order from,” Schenk says. “We also want to acknowledge that the pandemic has really taken its toll and some people won’t be ready to sit in a bar next year.”
Hinterland will open in September at 2216 SE 50th Avenue.
• Countryside [Official]
• Taylor Gehrts from Barwares gets salty with sherry [EPDX]