Street Food Profiles: Savor Soup House in Portland, Oregon
What's on the menu? Homemade soups, fresh salads and a gourmet grilled cheese bar (choose your toppings to create your perfect sandwich).
Location and hours? SW 10th and Alder, Portland (map) from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
How long have you been street fooding? Street fooding since January 2009.
How has Twitter affected business? It's been super positive for me. I get to post my daily specials and receive customer ideas and feedback.
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? A mobile business seemed less daunting to start than brick and mortar. I've always thought of it as a stepping stone.
Who are your typical customers? Typical customers are business professionals of all ages. I also get several tourists as I'm really close to several hotels. Students too. I definitely have regulars who are amazing. All my customers are amazing. I'm truly humbled by all the support.
Describe a typical day from start to finish. I wake up anywhere from 5:30 to 6:15 a.m., walk my dog and do all my social networking over coffee (posting my specials, etc), then I drive to the store to pick up any products I need, I go to my commercial kitchen space to pick up whatever I need there, including 35 to 40 gallons of water, then I head to the cart, unload everything and prep for the morning. I'll usually get a few deliveries throughout the week. I open for service and close at 4pm. If I have my employee there I can leave around 4 to 4:30 pm, then I go to the bank and do any other miscellaneous errands. The day tends to be over around 6 to 6:30pm.
What were you doing before this? I was a realtor for six years but before that I was in the restaurant business for about eight years.
What makes your food so special? Can anything else like it be found in the city? I feel like we have several really fun options at the cart like soup flights, a grilled cheese bar and a fresh lemonade of the week. One recent flavor was pineapple ginger with habanero. I don't know anyone who's doing exactly what we're doing.
How would you define "street food"? I think of street food as a place outside where you can pick up food quickly that isn't technically fast food. Typically it's ethnic but these days you can really find anything. The key is standing outside to order it. You may have to stand in a bit of rain or snow to get it but it's usually worth it.
Best street food city and why. Is it wrong to say Portland? I haven't experienced anything like it in this capacity. Plus, Portland rules.
What's your comfort food at the end of a long day? Roasted chicken with vegetables. It tastes and smells so dreamy.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? Be prepared for lots of physical work. It can be really exhausting. Also—you're always at the mercy of the weather.