Liquor licenses for food cart pods creates a new type of business opportunity

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has just approved Oregon’s first annual liquor license for the food cart pod “Cartlandia,” located on SE 82nd Avenue just off the Springwater Corridor Bike Trail. This move brings a new business opportunity to Oregonians, bringing along with it a new set of legal guidelines to navigate.

In Portland’s rich dining culture, food carts represent something of a jumping-off point: easily accessible, inexpensive food that doesn’t require reservations or even changing out of your bike gear to enjoy. They offer quick, reasonably-priced meals that can be even tastier and more innovative than anything available at more traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.

The relatively low cost of opening and running a food cart has allowed the mobile food culture to flourish in the Northwest and beyond, even during the economic downturn. Until now, however, the inability to serve alcohol has limited food cart pods to a quick, casual dining experience rather than a place to gather socially and linger over a local brew paired with your often locally-sourced meal.

Despite its recent move, the OLCC maintains a strict set of guidelines for anyone pursuing a license to sell alcohol, and licenses for food carts are no exception—Cartlandia was required to agree to limit sales to approved time periods and maintain a fence around the entire cart pod. Any business that interacts with the public, particularly those with strict licensing requirements, needs to be aware of the often lengthy and diligently-enforced legal guidelines for doing business. Having a business attorney to guide you through the licensing and compliance process will often make the difference in clearing a smooth path to success.

Cartlandia is sure to remain a welcome oasis for bikers along the Springwater Corridor, as well as the residents and workers of Southeast Portland. If its liquor license experiment proves a success, we may be on the verge of a new kind of dining in Oregon that bridges the gap between the food cart and the traditional restaurant. At Northwest Business Law Group, we can guide you through your business setup and bridge the gap between a great idea and a successful business.

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