We've written many an ode to the Cheese Plate PDX's fromage-focused fare, waxing poetic about their gooey grilled sandwiches, mouthwatering mac, and locally sourced cheese plates. We even shared the cart's secret recipes for killer sandos like the Cheddar Brussels, Whiskey Pear, and Blue Fig. You'll definitely want to hang onto those recipes—the cart once described as "the happiest, hardest-working cheese lovers on the block" will shutter Sunday, August 16.
After three years spent schlepping local chevre and fontina, owners Nick Dickison and Carina Rumrill are ditching dairy in favor of nuts and veggies at their new plant-based restaurant/deli, Of Roots and Blooms. The conversion will come as no surprise to many of the cart's most loyal customers: Rumrill reports that the majority of Cheese Plate patrons opt for dishes made with Daiya cheddar and creamy cashew sauce over the traditional dairy-based versions. Even our own very omnivorous Karen Brooks raved about the cart's vegan options in her 2013 review, writing that "the real surprise may be the cheese that is not cheese: a nutty, butter-channeling powershot of spreadable flavor that defies the law of nature. Say hello to the Cheese Plate PDX’s 'cashew fromage fort,' crafted for vegans but capable of bringing cheese-avores to their knees."
Although the duo has yet to secure premises for their new eatery, Of Roots and Blooms will make an appearance at the Vegan Beer Festival on September 26 with offerings like beer-battered pickled beet chips with avocado and fennel aioli; a pickle plate featuring pickled seasonal vegetables, kimchi, and truffled cream cheese stuffed olives; and their signature vegan mac & cheese topped with crushed kale chips and coconut bacon. The team will also be packaging up their famed cashew fromage fort for select local markets.
"We will really miss being part of the Portland food cart subculture and family, but we're ready to move beyond the seasonal aspect of the food cart business model and get into a nice cozy space with seating and a proper prep kitchen," says Dickison.
A going away party for the Cheese Plate PDX is planned for this Sunday, August 16 at the 23rd and Alberta Food Cart Lot from 1pm–6pm, with free samples of cashew fromage fort available during the celebration. Stay tuned for more details on On Roots and Blooms as it develops.