In Portland, A Solar Powered Food Truck

image via Kickstarter

By Nino Marchetti |

image via Kickstarter

It’s a Portland love story. A city in love with food (and renewable energy) discovers a food cart serving fine, locally sourced veggie burgers, powered by solar. That food cart, known as Off the Griddle, expands its offerings to include a little cafe, called the A.N.D. Now the foodie-preneurs behind the venture are counting on a little love on the part of their supporters to fund a Kickstarter project designed to bring the two businesses together in a single restaurant.

The food-cart-to-restaurant narrative is a common one in a city where municipal zoning laws allow for ambitious food concepts to get off the ground with a minimum in funding — so long as a food cart remains capable of moving, would-be restaurateurs can set up shop just in just about any commercial area where they’ve gained permission from the property owner. This allows entrepreneurs to test a food concept and build a following before taking the plunge on a full-blown restaurant.

The entrepreneurs’ goal is to consolidate their current operations — the solar-paneled food cart located at the 50th Ave. and Division St. food cart “pod,” and the five-table cafe, located at 5420 E. Burnside St. – into one all-encompassing restaurant. Ashley and Dan (the “A. ‘n. D.” behind the cafe’s name) plan to use Kickstarter funds to outfit their new, expanded location with a host of sustainable features, including solar panels, reclaimed furniture, recycled plastic chairs, energy efficient equipment, low wattage fixtures and lighting, recycled/reclaimed countertops, low-flow plumbing, greywater recycling, gardens to supply the restaurant with veggies, and rainwater harvesting. The two aim to ensure that all new building materials used in the course of this project are made with post-consumer content and/or are otherwise sustainably sourced, and plan to pursue LEED certification for the building.

Off the Griddle and the A.N.D. Cafe are seeking $24,188 in crowd-sourced funding for this project by their Kickstarter deadline of September 27. So far, the entrepreneurs behind the project have raised around $5,000 toward that goal. For more information — and to donate — check out their Kickstarter page.