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Downtown Food Cart Stars Ole Latte and Picnic to Join Forces on SE Clinton

Get ready for charitable coffee and amazing, from-scratch sandwiches.

By Karen Brooks December 13, 2017

Outside coffee shop as smart object 1 ges7kx

Ole Latte on Clinton Street

Image: Todd Edwards

Editor's Note: This project was disbanded before the doors opened, according to Picnic’s John Dovydenas. No plans have emerged yet for the new (little) space, next door to Dovydenas’ urban winery. Stay tuned.

In 2013, the owners of ambitious coffee cart Ole Latte (SW 10th and Alder) and lovacore-loving Picnic (SW Third and Stark) traded street-food war stories, shared resources, and rose as missionaries for downtown Portland’s cart scene. Ole Latte’s Todd Edward carried on with a bean-roasting program, seasonal latte experiments, proud local sourcing, and an expansion to the Portland State campus. Picnic closed as owner John Dovydenas focused on his urban winery, leaving behind one of most delicious, labor-intensive BLTs to ever grace this planet.

Now, Eat Beat has learned, the two foodie eccentrics are joining forces: in the next few weeks, Ole Latte will open a small shop at 1410 SE Clinton St, next to Dovydenas’ wine warehouse. (Ole Latte has closed at SW 10th and Alder; the SW Harrison spots live on.) According to Edwards, as new partners, Dovydenas will also reprise his Picnic cart out front next spring with full meals available inside or outside at picnic tables (naturally). 

The nearly completed space sports a garage-rock vibe, Ole Latte’s signature red La Marzocco espresso machine, and a crystal chandelier scrounged at a Grimm estate sale. Plans call for 15 to 17 seats. The idea is to maintain the one-drink, one-person-at-a-time-connection typical of cart service. Conversation is meant to be king here, so “no wifi,” says Edwards, “to maintain this integrity.” Other plans includes a bicycle-ride-through window and rotating art shows. Pastries from east side standout Bakeshop, a signature of the Ole Latte cart, will still be available. Eventually, the shop will stock local small-batch bottled beer and wines from makers at the warehouse next door. 

The new shop will also continue the cart’s “Suspended Coffee” program. Basically, you buy a coffee anonymously, and the drink is posted on a board. Anyone in need can order it, at no charge, no questions asked (meanwhile, you get 10 percent off your order for the good deed). 

“Local and community is our focus,” says Edwards. "'Changing the world one coffee at a time' is our motto."

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