Forest Grove food cart to offer homey touch
For many, a warm grilled cheese sandwich and a hot bowl of soup is a food pairing that conjures up images of home. It's the kind of meal you can make when you're working from home on a wet, windy day. It's a combo that will satisfy all but the pickiest of eaters at the family dining table. In short, it's an American classic.
A new food cart opening Tuesday, May 1, is bringing soup-and-sandwich comfort food to the streets of Forest Grove — with a unique twist or two.
Simmer & Slurp is the brainchild of Rachel Weil, a self-described "soup composer" who has decided to start her own food cart after a 13-year teaching career.
"Cooking's been a passion of mine borne from time in the kitchen with my grandma," Weil said.
Simmer & Slurp will set up shop next to a more established Forest Grove food cart, Vivi's Vietnamese Sandwiches, at the corner of Elm Street and 19th Avenue.
"I'm really excited about offering Forest Grove another option for local, homemade or house-made food," Weil said.
Food carts are becoming an increasingly popular dining option in Forest Grove, noted Dan Riordan, Forest Grove's senior city planner.
"It's something where there seems to be a lot of interest," Riordan said.
Weil said she has been surprised to find that opening a food cart isn't much more cost-effective than opening her business as a brick-and-mortar restaurant would be (although she will likely save money on her operating costs). But she said she has believed from early on in the process that a food cart is what she wants to do.
"I really like the aspect of the face-to-face, up close, and getting to know customers personally," Weil said.
Simmer & Slurp will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday starting next month, according to Weil.
The food cart will serve four soups every day, as well as grilled cheese sandwiches that may feature some unusual ingredients, like peanut butter, bacon, pickles and cheddar.
Even though the soups are her focus, Weil remarked, "I'll also have some interesting combinations of grilled cheese that you wouldn't probably expect."
Weil said she has dozens of soup recipes that she plans to rotate, and she intends to use as much local produce as possible.
With food carts beginning to take off in Forest Grove, Riordan said he can picture more growth in the sector.
"There seems to be two kind of burgeoning food cart pods that are developing," Riordan said, comparing the food carts that have set up shop on two blocks along 19th Avenue to the larger cart pods found in Portland, Beaverton and Milwaukie, among other nearby cities.
While a development like BG Food Cartel, the large pod that opened across Southwest Millikan Way from Beaverton City Hall earlier this year, doesn't seem to be anywhere close to the horizon in Forest Grove, local foodies can at least cheer one more addition to the scene as Simmer & Slurp prepares to dish up made-with-love soups and sandwiches next week.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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