Consisting of a jewel-colored, two-story building filled with locally-owned shops as well as an open air plaza with eight food carts, Portland Mercado is a public Latino market, kitchen and hub. It brings together a continent of diverse and vibrant cultures, traditions, entertainments and foods for all visitors to enjoy.
The Mercado is a grass roots community effort, opened in 2015, and is located in the heart of the Foster-Powell neighborhood in Southeast Portland. Recently I dropped by to check it out.
First, I go inside the building’s main floor. I find a coffee shop, a grocery and imports store, a party shop with candies and piñatas, a juice and fresh fruit bar, a meat counter, a beer and wine lounge and wide benches for sitting. There’s also Micro Merchants Kitchen, a full-time, commissary kitchen available for start-up entrepreneurs to rent at affordable prices.
Next I head to the plaza to nosh at one of the food carts. I quickly discover a wide variety of Latino cuisines to choose from, including Cuban, Mexican, Oaxacan, Salvadorian and Colombian.
After much debate I ordered Oaxacan-style tacos made with organic blue corn tortillas with Carne Asada and Al Pastor, pork marinated in chile guajillo sauce and pineapple. I especially enjoyed the pork’s rich savory sweet flavors.
The Mercado also hosts a variety of special events, including its one year anniversary celebration – also known as Primer Año – on April 16th. Festivities start at 12pm.
7238 SE Foster Rd.
Hours: 10am-8pm Sun.-Thurs., Fri. & Sat. 10am-9pm (through March 31); 10am-9pm (starting April 1)