Portland, Oregon with its nearly 700 carts, lining its streets, has quickly become a destination spot for foodies around the world. Portland’s street food scene is a bit different than most food truck cities in the country, due to the use of food carts instead of mobile food trucks. These carts are parked in groups (pods) and lined up along sidewalks throughout the city.

Visiting The Potato Champion in Portland, Oregon, feels like discovering a culinary secret hidden in plain sight, a treasure trove for potato lovers nestled in the vibrant heart of Portland’s bustling food cart scene. As the cool, Pacific Northwest air brushes against your skin, the warm, inviting glow of The Potato Champion beckons, promising an unforgettable gastronomic adventure centered around a universal favorite: the humble potato.


The Potato Champion.

In April of 2008, Mike McKinnon opened Potato Champion, becoming the city’s only late night cart that specializes in fries. Since that time the 12th and Hawthorne cart pod McKinnon is located in has blossomed into the late night hub of Portland.

Potato Champion serves up Belgian-style pomme frites with a huge list of dipping sauces to choose from. Please note, these are not your typical chain sold French fries, they’re Belgian Fries. McKinnon did extensive research on the methods and technologies of cooking fries and choose to use the style made in Holland and Belgium.

The potatoes are peeled, cut, washed, fried, blanched and then fried again in a gluten-free kitchen. The result: the perfect Belgian fries.

For diners making a quick late-night stop to satisfy a fry craving of well-prepared fried potatoes will definitely do the job; all sizes of fries at Potato Champion come with at least one dipping sauce. Here’s what’s on the menu:

  • Fresh Cut Fries: $8.00
  • Poutine: $13.00
  • Satay Poutine: $13.00
  • PBJ Fries: $13.00
  • Palak Paneer Fries: $13.00
  • Pulled Pork Fries: $15.00

Sauces: Horseradish Ketchup*, Rosemary Truffle Ketchup*, Fritessaus, Pesto Mayo, Tarragon Anchovy Mayo, Remoulade, Harder Sweet Hot Mustard*, Satay Sauce*, Chipotle Mayo, Wasabi Mayo, Buttermilk Ranch, Curry Sauce, Veganaise*, Banana Ketchup*, Bourbon Honey Mustard, Chipotle Veganaise*, Curry Ketchup (*vegan)

Should you want to try out more sauces than what is handed out with each order you can add additional sauce to your order for 50 cents each.

turkey poutine

Turkey poutine on special.

They also serve poutine (A traditional Canadian comfort food which originated in Quebec), which are fries topped with beef gravy and fresh cheese curds. With that said, poutine is no longer just for the Canadians.  At least for people of Portland, Oregon

This is the type of place you might not eat at everyday but provides a spot for those with late night after bar hour cravings (Potato Champion is open until 3am).


The Potato Champion food cart can be found at 1207 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR, United States, Oregon.

Updates are posted on Facebook.

My recommendation:

The PB&J FRIES: Their signature fries topped with a peanut satay sauce and raspberry chipotle jelly. They may look a bit daunting, but after your first bite…any hesitation will vanish. Oh and be sure to order their Watermelon Basil Juice to wash these fries down with.

What their fans have said:

“My friend was really insistent that this was the best poutine like EVER.  And as far as I was concerned, it was pretty heavenly at 1 AM, all ooey and gooey and tangy salty crispy.  In fact, it was so good that I made my mom eat it when she was visiting.” Lin H. – Portland, OR

Hard to Decide

Choosing what to order is no small feat, with options ranging from the classic freshness of their signature fries served with innovative dips to the heartwarming comfort of Poutine, a Canadian classic reimagined with either beef or vegetarian gravy, generously smothered over fries and cheddar cheese curds. The option for a vegan version ensures that no one misses out on the experience.

The Satay Poutine is an unexpected delight, a fusion that brings the rich, nutty flavors of Thai peanut satay sauce into the mix, blending cultures and tastes atop a bed of golden, crispy fries. But it’s the PBJ Fries that truly epitomize the spirit of The Potato Champion—a daring combination of savory and sweet, with house-made satay sauce and smoky chipotle raspberry jam creating a juxtaposition of flavors that’s both bewildering and irresistible.

Accompanying these potato masterpieces are the house-made sauces, each a star in its own right. The Rosemary Truffle Ketchup is a revelation, elevating the ketchup experience with its luxurious aroma and depth of flavor. The Curry Ketchup introduces a warm, spiced twist to the familiar, while the Bourbon Honey Mustard offers a tangy, sweet complexity that’s hard to forget. And for the purists, the Buttermilk Ranch is a creamy, herb-infused classic that feels both comforting and gourmet.