A First Look at The Big Egg's NE Alberta Sandwich Shop

Portland’s cult food cart steps up as a bona fide restaurant on July 31. We take a look around.

By Karen Brooks July 29, 2015

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Image: Karen Brooks

On Tuesday morning, a tall young man squared up in front of a handwritten sign on a yolk-colored storefront on the far edge of Alberta Street’s business district. He stared, crouched, cracked a sly smile, then Instagrammed the news: “Our soft opening will be Wednesday, July 29.” His face said it all:  relief, happiness, hunger. He’s not alone. The Big Egg is coming.

As Eat Beat reported in May, Gail and Elizabeth Buchanan’s cult food cart—known for epic breakfast sandwiches and epic waits—is transforming into a bona fide, brick-and-mortar sandwich shop in the former Sugar Cube space at 3039 NE Alberta Street. That means year-round business, a big kitchen to fuel fresh ideas, seating for 20 in a sunny interior, and hopefully, no feet-numbing wait times. 

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Gail (left) and Elizabeth Buchanan

Image: Karen Brooks

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Big Egg's new Sausage & Peppers Sandwich: Over easy egg, house-made spicy Italian 
pork sausage, grilled peppers & onions, cherry peppers, provolone, balsamic aioli & wild arugula on a grilled ciabatta roll. 

Image: Karen Brooks

Expect eight sandwiches to start, some iconic (hello ham-and-egg on brioche French toast) and some new, like a grinder sporting Olympia Provisions’ soppressata salami, pickled green apples, and spicy-hot Mama Lil’s aioli. But overall, the approach is classic Big Egg: lots of handmade relishes, personal touches, and always a Sweetbriar Farm egg, in some form. A seasonal salad has joined the roster, along with the option to turn any sandwich into a salad.

Scones, muffins, and brownies will be in the house, courtesy of Southeast Portland’s popular Lauretta Jean’s, along with French press coffee from local roaster Cellar Door.

That soft opening was meant to be a secret—a chance for the Buchanans to test-drive their longtime dream for two days, before Friday’s “official” opening. That’s what happens when you post it on the front door.

The Big Egg, opening July 31
3039 NE Alberta St.
Wednesday-Sunday, 8 am-2 pm

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