Food News

Legendary Portland Food Cart for Sale—Earns $500,000 Per Year

Owners Duane and Xue Mei Simard say that their food cart can rake in $1,500 per meal for hand-pulled Chinese noodles.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton May 19, 2023

Xue Mei (foreground) and Duane Simard of Stretch the Noodle

Image: Michael Novak

The owners of the beloved downtown Portland food cart Stretch the Noodle are calling it quits after seven years. Its founders, married couple Duane and Xue Mei Simard, plan to sell the cart within the next few weeks and retire. 

“I’m old. Old and tired,” Duane says with a laugh.

And likely wealthy: the cart operates only 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and rakes in $1,000–1,500 daily, according to a Craigslist ad posted by the owners. When the cart operates at full hours for lunch, dinner, and Saturdays, “I would say your income would surpass half a million per year," says the ad. The owners are selling the cart for a mere $80,000, including equipment, recipes, and 30 days of training.

The cart draws lunchtime crowds for its Northwest Chinese hand-pulled noodles served in beef noodle soup, in stir-fried xiao mian, in spicy chile oil, or in cold noodle salads. It also serves Chinese snacks like dumplings, jianbing, and bao. At times, its line stretches around the block, with customers waiting 45 minutes just to place an order. Duane claims that even with downtown devoid of office workers during the pandemic, their business was unaffected. The cart has been a media darling, including a stronghold among Portland Monthly’s top food carts, while amassing a loyal following—Xue Mei notes that the cart’s first five-star Yelp reviewer still visits.

Stretch the Noodle’s beef noodle soup

Image: Michael Novak

So far, the Simards have received a couple purchase offers, but they are still accepting bids. The deal includes the opportunity to keep the cart on its current lot at SW Washington Street and Third Avenue. 

The Simards moved here from Colorado and opened the cart in May 2016, after a vacation in which they checked out the food cart scene. With few other options for handmade Chinese noodles in town, they figured they could profit selling noodles—and they were right. They bought a home in Vancouver, Washington, which they plan to sell after retiring, and relocate. No word on which new hometown will benefit from their noodle prowess.