Grab and Go: Tidbits Food Carts

By Ariel Harmon and Brooklyn Pierce

With a fast-paced walk, you can make it to the Tidbit Food Farm and Garden, more commonly known as the “Division Food Carts,” within 10 minutes of leaving Cleveland. Compared to the vast variety of food offered, that short walk is definitely worth it. They present a wide range of cuisines including American, Mediterranean, Scandinavian, Indian, Japanese, Hawaiian-Korean, Mexican, Thai, health foods, specialty drinks and a bakery. Furthermore, almost all of the carts cater to specialized needs such as vegetarianism/veganism or gluten-free diets. The meals range from $5-$10 on average. If you follow our tips, you’ll be able to make it back to school with some grub and time to spare!

The Tidbit Food Farm and Garden is 0.6 miles from Cleveland, and is located on 29th and Division. Our lunch clocks in at a total of 37 minutes, so you must be quick if you want to eat at the carts. Many of our recommendations aid in time management.

First, we suggest you call in your order. The majority of the carts have a public phone number. Calling in beforehand will drastically cut down on time wasted while waiting for your food to cook. The average meal takes around 10 minutes to prepare. If you place your order during the beginning of lunch or while you walk, it will likely be done upon arrival. Also, placing your order for pick-up means it will come in a to-go container. That means you’ll already have utensils and a box if you need to transport your food back to school!

The second tip applies to everybody, but mostly to those who choose to order in person. Try to be flexible. Many carts have odd hours of operation, meaning your favorite cart might not be open. For example, Paper Bag Pizza was actually closed for lunch during our most recent visit. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware when each cart is open. If your preferred pod is closed, there’s always another option for lunch with their multitude of cuisines. The danger is in loitering while trying to decide on your ‘plan b’ meal.

If you’re having trouble selecting which cart to go to, we can help! We both love Hapa PDX, which offers our favorite enchanting ramen bowls, served in a nimbus of fragrant steam. For dessert, we recommend the irresistible malasadas from Namu, which are donuts, but better, and Portuguese. Some other honorable mentions are Garden Monsters, primarily serving hearty salads, and Dog Town, which has some deservedly popular hot dogs and some vegetarian options as well. The Back to Eden Bakery also has great dessert options to finish off any meal. We suggest their pies, which have no wait time aside from the line, as they are pre-made.

Lastly, if you’d like to be really time savvy, try to catch the No. 10 bus (stop ID 1095) towards Cleveland. It arrives at Clinton and 26th at 11:51 a.m., which is 10 minutes before the end of lunch on a regular schedule. Doing so would allow you to get back much faster, and let you finish off any food that may be left without worrying about being late to your next class.                                                                                                                                                                          

While that distance is a bit of a drawback, the Tidbit Food Farm and Garden compensates for that with an amplitude of positives. They wonderfully supply multitudinous cuisines, which is something not offered by Cleveland’s surrounding restaurants.The variety is certainly the greatest benefit of the carts. You and your friends can easily travel the world through the restaurant menus, and never have to leave the seating area. Speaking of, another pro is the substantial amount of seats. While most eateries near school become uncomfortably full, that doesn’t happen at the Tidbit food carts. They provide covered seating, and many of the pods offer their own seating in addition. Moreover, there is a fire pit for colder days, and frequent live music.

The Tidbit Food Farm and Garden is our favorite place to go for lunch, but you have to be smart. If you have time during lunch consider coming to this delicious community of carts!