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Grand opening for Lil' America food cart pod draws foodies to SE Portland

Lil' America is a food pod featuring carts that are owned by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ chefs, curated by the restaurant group Win Win.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Southeast Portland's newest food cart pod, Lil' America, opened around the corner of Southeast Stark and 11th Avenue on Saturday, serving up all kinds of different cuisines from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ chefs. Despite the scattered showers, Lil' America was buzzing with activity, starting at noon. 

"I mean there's just so much good food here, so many cool people too. The community here is amazing," said Sunny Hatch, owner of FryBaby, a Korean American fried chicken cart.

"I grew up in Dallas, Texas, there was a lot of Korean restaurants there. My mom is Korean. She's an immigrant, and I am a first generation so, I just wanted there to be one more place to eat Korean food."

Hatch said what sets Lil' America apart from other pods is the diversity.

"It's a really unique representation of what America really is," he said. "There's a lot of different offerings — some traditional and some kind of like re-imaginations of cultural food."

A couple of carts down, customers will find Speed-o Cappuccino, owned by Dahlia Hanson. 

"I've never been in another pod! Just know that we all get along and there's no rivalry, there's no competition. Everybody makes such different and unique foods from their own backgrounds," she said. "We are a queer bikini barista. Vegan food and coffee sold exclusively by queer sex workers."

The Drip'N Crab, which began first on Super Bowl weekend in 2020, has become a very popular seafood staple in Portland and the latest cart to join the pod. 

"What really pulled us in here was just for fun and the energy that we saw," said owner Shermain Scott. "Not only that, its appeases to everyone — BIPOC, LGBTQ, and being African-American, it really set in for us. We're just really excited to be here."

After an impressive showing on day one, cart owners said they're looking forward to many more exciting days ahead.

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