PORTLAND, Ore. – There is little to save inside a popular food cart on North Mississippi Avenue. Fire broke out inside the Homegrown Smoker cart a week ago, thought to be caused by a slow gas leak that ignited with a fury.
The owner was already preparing to open a 2,000-square-foot restaurant by the same name in St. Johns.
“Then the fire happened on the 21st and it kind of threw us for a loop, because there went our cash flow," said owner Jeff Ridabock. "It just stopped.”
Ridabock said they still plan to open the restaurant on the Fourth of July, and keep nine people employed. But it's a challenge, after the fire.
His cart, specializes in smoked vegan BBQ. It has found a following among vegans and carnivores alike since 2009.
Patrons and friends have tried to help bridge the gap by donating to a GoFundMe page.
“It’s been a little scary, but the community has really come out for us, and that’s really no surprise here in Portland,” said Ridabock. "We are kind of a small town inside a big city. That’s how I’ve always looked at it."