The Mercado is Portland’s only Latin market…but it goes far beyond that. In just three years, it has grown from a simple dream into a thriving community living at the intersection of cuisine, art, and entertainment. From marketing coaches to financial advisers, the Mercado’s team is an eclectic and deep network fostering success in entrepreneurship.
Their incubator model allows 19 permanent businesses and over 60 others to create and monetize their culinary art, providing exposure and stability to diverse, local purveyors. In addition to grocery and retail, the affordable space houses food carts representing diverse Latin American flavors, from Haitian and Oaxacan to Cuban and Columbian. An experience at the Mercado is meant to replicate a trip to a market in Latin America, but with a Portland twist.
One of the ways the Mercado upholds its values of diversity, authenticity, community, and quality is through pop-up dinners. The team describes these pop-ups as a way to “break the stigma of Latin American food-cart fare as something fast and inexpensive.” They “highlight Latino food-cart owners as the creative chefs they truly are to an audience they don’t always connect with.”
We’re thrilled to welcome some of these culinary entrepreneurs at Feastly Portland as part of Portland Dining Month. These three-course, $33 menus will showcase the best of their flavors!
Check out the lineup:
Named after Puerto Rico’s famously chatty frogs, El Coquí is Portland’s only Puerto Rican eatery. Chef Anthony (Tony) Banegas, who assumed the business from his former boss at Carlito’s Cocina, emulates these loud amphibians with the bold flavors of mofongo, bacailaitos, and empanaditos.
Chef Veronica Gutierrez and her family left Venezuela in 2007. They opened La Arepa in 2011 and have since opened a second location due to wild popularity! The cuisine ranges from slow-cooked comfort to elevated street eats with an infusion of Pacific Northwestern ingredients.
As Portland’s only Haitian cuisine, chef Mathilde Aurelian-Wilson and partner Bruce Wilson treat diners to dishes like griots, bannann pesé, and pikliz. When they’re not cooking, Mathilde and Bruce run a non-profit supporting Haitian educational and core needs.
Chef Dora Reyna brings traditional Mexican fare to Portland with a variety of pozoles, huaraches, and birria. “Las adelas” is a reference to “las adelitas,” or female soldiers who fought alongside men in the Mexican Revolution. The name represents power, beauty, and bravery.
Hungry for more? We’ve got more Dining Month deliciousness here.