5 Best Places to Eat in Boise, Idaho

Best Places to Eat in Boise Idaho

As Idaho’s cultural capital, Boise has no shortage of culinary choices, from tacos featuring Idaho spuds and chorizo to quinoa burgers and Nutella panna cotta. The Treasure Valley also has a thriving food truck community that offers alternatives to sit-down and take-out fare, as well as a Food Truck Rally in Boise (check out our Boise Food Trucks page for all events).
But even though we at Truckster love the food truck movement, we’re also foodies at heart who can’t resist cluing others in on a great meal. Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Boise, Idaho.

Richard’s Restaurant & Bar

Chef and owner Richard Langston has been feeding Boise residents and visitors for more than 25 years, showcasing locally sourced ingredients and natural flavors. His specialties are Italian-style Northwestern fare such as grilled octopus with pork belly, parchment-cooked black cod with broccolini, grilled quail, and potato gnocchi with beets, gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts. Wines on the award-winning wine list include those from Idaho’s burgeoning wine industry, as well as selections from Italy, Spain, France, California, Oregon, and Washington. Save room for desserts such as tiramisu cheesecake or the gluten-free orange cardamom chocolate flourless cake with pistachio crumble. (500 S. Capitol Blvd.)

Fork

Located in the landmark Boise City National Bank Building, Fork pledges to be “Loyal to Local,” sourcing key ingredients from ranchers, farmers, distillers, brewers, bakers, producers, and cheese makers around Boise and the Northwest. That commitment extends to the comfortable yet relaxed dining room, which uses recycled materials and reclaimed Idaho barn wood for the glasses and tables. Menu favorites include asparagus “fries,” cast-iron seared lamb lollipops with green chimichurri sauce, grilled Mahi Mahi tacos, Idaho rainbow trout, a slow-smoked brisket sandwich, and buttermilk fried chicken with balsamic-infused maple syrup and a cheddar waffle. (199 N. 8th St.)

Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery

America’s first restaurant distillery, Bardenay is located on the Basque Block, part of the Old Boise Historic District. It specializes in producing amber rum and ginger rum and has a menu bursting with variety, such as the panzanella bruschetta salad with champagne vinaigrette, flash-fried Pacific cod and chips, and a cider-brined pork chop. Cap off a meal with carrot cake featuring Bardenay Ginger Rum raisins or molten chocolate Bundt cake, then raise a toast with a local pale ale or a signature cocktail like the Huckleberry Lemon Drop pouch made with Bardenay Lemon Vodka and Idaho huckleberry puree. (610 W. Grove St.)

Bar Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery

Another Basque Block staple, the Bar Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery has combined authentic Basque cuisine with sandwiches, Basque wines, and desserts for roughly 20 years. Choices include solomo (marinated pork tenderloin with pimientos on a French baguette), chorizo (Basque pork sausage), slices of roasted lamb leg with grilled onions and mushrooms, and lamb stew complete with potatoes, onions, and green peppers. Don’t forget the croquettas, house-cut fries, Basque peppers, or rice pudding on the side. (202 S. Capitol Blvd.)

Saint Lawrence Gridiron

A few steps from the Idaho State Capitol Building, Saint Lawrence Gridiron is a former food truck that’s settled into a brick-and-mortar location, delivering bold Southern flavors and humor from a giant smoker on the front patio. Don’t miss the brisket platter with buttermilk biscuit and “various picklery;” the “Requisite Veggie Dish” of rotating grains, herbs, and seasonal vegetables; or shrimp served with stone-ground grits, sausage, and tomato gravy. Want a smaller bite? Opt for the “Dirty Bird,” a fried chicken sandwich with Louisiana spices, chili oil, white BBQ sauce, and house slaw. Also serves brunch. (705 W. Bannock St.)

How Much Does It Cost for a Food Truck to Cater?

Preparing Food For Catered Event Min

Food trucks provide fast, flavorful, and affordable meals. They’re an ideal way to feed hundreds of people at once, whether you’re hosting a birthday party or planning a corporate retreat. You may be wondering, “How much does it cost for a food truck to cater?” Here are the answers you need to make the most of your next event.

Establish a Minimum Price

Before we delve into prices, remember that every food truck charges different rates, so costs will vary. Living in a city like Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., will inherently cost you more because each has a high price of living. Our numbers serve as a rough estimate.

Many food trucks charge a minimum price of $500, including tax. That covers a predetermined number of people and servings. The vendor will also incorporate labor, preparation time, and travel expenses into the billing.

Billing prices may vary based on the date. Vendors are busier during the summer, so minimum bids may increase. The same goes for holidays and other special events. Food trucks set these minimums because producing and transporting large quantities of food gets expensive quickly, especially without a guaranteed number of people.

Factor in Cuisine Type

All cuisines aren’t equal, at least when it comes to price. Serving burgers and fries present a more cost-effective option than farm-to-table salads. The salad ingredients are more expensive to grow and purchase, and food trucks pass those expenses on to the customer in the form of pricing.

Ice cream trucks are one of the most affordable catering options. The average meal costs $5 to $10 per person, with rental minimums ranging from $400 to $800 and up. Here are some of the other catering prices you can expect:

  • Tacos and burritos – $10 to $18 per person with a minimum cost of $900+
  • Barbecue – $10 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
  • Burgers – $12 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
  • Pizza – $12 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
  • Lobster – $18 to $25 per person with a minimum cost of $1,200+

The cost per person typically includes side dishes, such as refried beans, grilled corn, and coleslaw. It may not include dessert or drinks, which cost an extra $1 to $5 per person. Note that the more people you have attending an event, the lower the price per person.

Price Hikes for Weddings

Weddings are expensive, with the average couple paying $33,900 to tie the knot, according to TheKnot.com. Part of the reason weddings are pricey is the “wedding tax” phenomenon. Photographers, caterers, wedding planners, and other service providers charge more at wedding events since couples typically spend with less discretion.

Food trucks tend to be more expensive at weddings than at regular events because of the logistical complexity. Catering with a food truck can save money, though. The average food truck charges $25 to $35 per guest, while traditional caterers charge around $70 per person for weddings.

Evaluate the Location

Your event’s location can result in additional charges. Food trucks may have to pay for permitting, zoning, or parking if they’re using public space. If you plan to host your event on private property, the operators may need a tent or pop-up to accommodate patrons.

Most food trucks charge a minimum fee, starting at $500, for catering. You should have at least 50 attendees to disperse the costs evenly and potentially lower the overall price per dish per person. If you’re ready to book a food truck to cater an event, choose from the many listed on our site!

How Many Items Should Be on a Food Truck Menu?

How Many Items Should Be On A Food Truck Menu

You have a dream of opening a food truck. Getting that dream off the ground requires a one-of-a-kind menu. It serves as the central component of your restaurant on wheels, setting the tone and taste for your culinary identity.

While it’s tempting to flex your creativity with a lengthy menu, most food truck owners only serve 6 to 12 items. How many items should be on your food truck menu based on your business model? Here are the answers you need to make an exciting and economically viable menu.

Determine the Central Menu Items

The first step to create the perfect menu involves picking out a few central items. These dishes should be the staples of your food truck and inspire people to come back again. If you haven’t done so already, do some market research to ensure your food truck idea differentiates your business from other vendors.

The central dishes should revolve around a single concept. Serve items with a unified theme, like sandwiches or French food. For instance, your truck may combine both ideas and create a menu with raclette grilled cheese, croque madame, jambon-beurre, and pan bagnat.

Consider Preparation Time

You can have all the delectable dishes you want, but a successful food truck menu demands practicality. Your best-selling raclette grilled cheese may earn $12 per transaction, but it also takes 20 minutes to make. A more straightforward item, like jambon-beurre, containing a baguette, ham, and butter, earns $8 but takes a fraction of the time.

Increased preparation time doesn’t mean you should forsake a raclette grilled cheese. It requires a highly efficient kitchen environment for it to be feasible. Unless you’re trying to compete with established fine-dining restaurants, you should err on the side of caution and keep dishes simple. Shorter preparation and cooking times will save you time and money during a lunch rush.

Be Realistic

A healthy dose of realism will give your food truck its best chance at success. If you only operate during lunchtime, serving 20 items doesn’t make sense. Even if you’re serving something as simple as hotdogs and brats, making things less complicated remains in your best interest.

You and your associates should streamline your menu to make service faster. If you’re serving hotdogs and brats, keep the sides to only two options, like French fries and grilled corn. The economic approach allows you to reduce waste and turnaround times.

Creating a Menu

Creating a physical menu is an art form. Subtle psychological tricks can ensure you get attention from passersby. Here are a couple of ways to make the most of your display space:

  • Remove dollar signs from the price.
  • Use prices that end in .95 instead of .99.
  • Be descriptive with your food. Don’t write “French fries.” Write “Freshly sliced Idaho potatoes, double-fried in duck fat and seasoned with chives and sea salt.”
  • Avoid creating columns.
  • Put the central menu items toward the top.
  • Create brackets around the same dish in two different sizes.

Find Out What Works Best for You

No hard and fast rules exist for picking the number of items for your menu. While many food trucks serve 6 to 12 dishes, you should find a number that ensures quality over quantity. Keep preparation times and logistical considerations in mind as you create your menu.

Don’t reinvent the wheel when deciding how many items should be on a food truck menu. Check out our Food Trucks tab for mobile restaurants across the country. You can see complete menus from other vendors and how many dishes they’re offering.

What Is the Target Market for Food Trucks?

Target Market For Food Trucks

Before you park your food truck and serve your first meal, you need a business plan. The blueprint tells you where, when, and how you’ll serve food. The business plan should also include your biggest ally: a target audience.

If you’re wondering how to define your food truck’s target market, you’re not alone. Every food truck operator needs to find the right people for their menu. Here’s how Truckster suggests incorporating a target audience into your business plan.

Consider Your Menu

Your menu sets the tone for your food truck. It reflects your core competencies and culinary mission. If you establish a gourmet hotdog and brats operation, you’ll attract plenty of foodies and businesspeople. The menu may turn off everyday Americans who expect to pay $2 for a hotdog and vegetarians and vegans who want meat-free alternatives.

The composition of your menu says a lot about your audience. Some items, like pizza and pasta, have universal appeal, so your desired customers can span across all generations, income levels, and backgrounds. If you have a truck that serves niche food, like vegan or Venezuelan dishes, you’re homing in on a smaller but arguably more passionate crowd.

Determine the Target Demographic

Determining your target demographic involves coming up with a semblance of your average customer. That means gauging their tastes, spending habits, and the unique selling points that attract them. Some of the categories you’ll use to build your average customer include:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Income
  • Interests and lifestyle
  • Job status
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Size of household
  • Values

These factors can inform your business choices and even the food you serve. You may look at the information and find potential customers because no one is serving that food nearby. For instance, if there’s a sizeable Venezuelan population in your town but no Venezuelan vendors, you have a golden opportunity.

Don’t forget to factor your geographic location into business decisions. Selling hot cocoa won’t fare well in warm climates like Phoenix and Houston. Similarly, chilled gazpacho doesn’t have a great chance of success in northern cities like Minneapolis or Boston.

Some questions to ask yourself when identifying a target market include:

  • How many people are in your potential market?
  • How many competitors are in your local market? How many serve similar food?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to competitors?
  • What are your pricing and gross margin targets?
  • What’s your plan for attracting more customers after opening?
  • Have you done a soft open? What were the results?
  • What sources are you using to calculate your target market?

Leverage Social Media

Social media can make or break a food truck. Harnessing the connective power of Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms gives you intimate access to legions of loyal followers. If you haven’t already created accounts on all the major social media sites, you should.

Each platform comes with advertising resources that let you tailor your ads to your desired consumers. If your average customer is an affluent, college-educated man in his 40s, you can customize your content to people like that. The pinpoint accuracy lets you get the most out of your advertising dollars when targeting your ideal audience.

Have a Plan and a Target

A successful food truck understands its target market. It delivers one-of-a-kind food that people can’t find anywhere else. The key to bridging opportunities and getting results is a detailed business plan that outlines who you’ll target and how.

Do you want to connect with more customers? Do you want to expand your digital presence and develop more catering leads? Download the Truckster app and start building a better business today.

Top 5 Challenges Food Truck Owners Face

Challenges Food Truck Owners Face

It’s estimated that 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years, and food trucks are no exception. The increasingly competitive market means vendors have more hurdles than ever to operate a successful business. Here are the top five challenges food truck owners face and how to overcome them.

Location

The real estate adage is location, location, location, and it also applies to food trucks. Vendors have to find a spot that consistently attracts diners without too many existing trucks. Some experts argue that choosing a proper location outweighs the importance of the menu.

Location Is Important

Street parking presents the most straightforward and cost-effective option for food truck owners. You can park in a business district and find hordes of hungry business-people on their lunch break. Other ways to optimize location include attending festivals, breweries, farmer’s markets, bars, nightclubs, sporting events, college campuses, and food truck parks.

Red Tape

Having a unique idea for a food truck and selling meals sounds like fun. The legalese can present enough hurdles that many prospective vendors give up before they start. Here are some of the regulations you’ll need to accommodate when you open a food truck:

  • A seller’s permit
  • Head department certification
  • Food safety training
  • Liability insurance
  • Mobile vending laws
  • Vehicle permit and license

Obtaining these qualifications isn’t difficult by themselves. They take time, though, which takes away from other pressing matters, like building a menu or hiring staff. Each city, county, and state has distinct regulations, so you’ll face red tape regardless of where you live in the United States.

Kitchen Space or Lack Thereof

Kitchen space provides a natural constraint for food truck vendors. Every section of the kitchen layout needs to drive the operation toward complete efficiency; otherwise, it risks slowing down business. Combine multiple tasks into one to get more done with less.

A robust food processor lets you perform multiple functions in a compact area. The small machine can make everything from salsas to soups and whipped cream to winter smoothies. Other ways to make your kitchen space more efficient include improving organization, building vertically instead of horizontally, and purchasing ingredient bins.

The Goldilocks Menu

Most people start food trucks because they have a new idea that no one else is doing. That could mean serving Korean-Italian cuisine or turning traditional upscale dining into fast, casual meals. Even if you have a novel and delicious idea, you need a consumer base willing to try your food.

A Goldilocks menu is neither too boring nor too adventurous. The food should sit in the middle ground between familiarity and novelty, making it just right for prospective customers. Striking a balance can be challenging for food truck owners, especially if you do not have a background in the restaurant industry or hospitality.

Inclement Weather

Some parts of food truck vending are out of your control, including the weather. While you can nail your food truck’s business plan, uncooperative weather can present a financial setback. No one wants to eat soggy sandwiches in a muddy park, even if they’re amazing. The same goes for eating ice cream during the winter or having spicy ramen during peak summer months.

Always Be Ready

Food truck owners face a myriad of challenges, from inclement weather to red tape. While some of these hurdles are beyond your control, some ingenuity and thoughtful planning can circumvent these common issues. If you’re ready to start conquering these hurdles, check out the About Us page to learn how Truckster can bolster your bottom line.

Our Favorite Things to Do in Austin

Our Favorite Things To Do In Austin

Austin, Texas, has something for everyone, including nature lovers, art fans, romantics, and even the foodies. If you plan on visiting the city anytime soon, here are Truckster’s favorite things in Austin that you should give a try.

Visit the State Capitol

The State Capitol is Texas’s legislative center and one of the most impressive state legislative buildings in the US.

It has been around since 1888 and is a rich representation of Austin’s political history. The building itself is an architectural marvel that’s 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in D.C. It has undergone a few renovations over the years, but still retains much of its original look.

Visiting the Capitol is a great opportunity to learn about Texas history and entry is free. But because the place can be a bit crowded at times, it’s best to plan and time your visit to avoid peak visit periods.

Sample the Food Trucks

In Austin, brick and mortar restaurants aren’t the only place to find fine dining. There are food trucks not far from most streets and they serve almost anything you want. Some serve Italian cuisine, while others offer Mexican, Middle Eastern, Asian, Tex-Mex, and their unique twists of traditional dishes.

The growing scene is an affordable way to get a tasty meal from anywhere in the world without having to travel. And if you have favorite food trucks, you can easily track them down when they move with the help of apps like Truckster’s Austin Food Trucks Map.

Watch Performers on Sixth Street

Fans of music can catch a live show at Sixth Street, which is celebrated as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Most of the performers are upcoming artists, but famous ones do show up from time to time.

You’ll find Sixth Street on the Dirty Sixth, which is between Congress Street and Interstate 35. Aside from music, the area also offers a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops, and, of course, bars.

Hike Mount Bonnell

Austin has a lot of scenic views to offer and you can find some of the best ones at Covert Park’s Mount Bonnell. From the top of Mount Bonnell’s 775-foot-high outcrop, you get a panoramic view of the city and Lake Austin. That might seem tall, but many visitors describe the hike as easy and the view worthwhile.

The area is one of Texas’ historic landmarks and it’s also in the National Register of Historic Places, so be sure to treat it with respect by not littering.

Catch a Show at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater

Another favorite among music lovers, the Moody Center has hosted several artists, including some of your favorites. The venue can seat thousands of people and has great acoustics. When you are in Austin next, be sure to check out who’s performing at the Moody Center, because it just might be an artist that you’ve been dying to see live.

Visit SoCo District

Have you ever heard the saying, “keep Austin weird?” If you haven’t, the residents of SoCo District have and are committed to the message.
SoCo District is in downtown Austin and it plays a big part in keeping Austin’s weirdness alive and well. After soaking up some of the weird, you can browse and shop the diverse boutiques and stores in the area to find treasures.

You can also grab a bite or refreshments at one of the many food joints in the area. Taco, ice cream, and coffee joints are in abundance. The Continental Club is a favorite for grabbing drinks and enjoying live country music.

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake

Here’s another favorite hiking spot in Austin. It has a scenic 10-mile hike-and-bike trail in the middle of the city that takes you past the lake and by places where you can grab a bite. Whether you are running, cycling, or power walking, the gorgeous, yet quiet, view of the trail makes for great company.

Best Places to Grab a Bite to Eat in Portland

Best Places To Grab A Bite To Eat In Portland Oregon

Portland, Oregon has a rich food scene that serves dishes from cultures around the globe. You can find original Asian, Italian, and other cuisines just like grandma makes them. Traditional favorites with modern twists are also popular.

Whichever you prefer, your food adventure in Portland won’t be complete without grabbing a bite at these best places to eat.

Toro Bravo

Spanish restaurants aren’t that common and eating at Toro Bravo will make you ask why not. The food is mostly traditional Spanish cuisine with a unique twist from the chef that takes the flavors to new heights.

Each dish delivers bold, drool-worthy flavors and, judging by the never-ending line at the restaurant, Toro Bravo is clearly doing everything right. Make sure to try out the exceptional Sangria and Spanish Tapas.

Food Carts and Trucks

Portland is one of the few places in the US where you can find five-star cuisine being served as street food. There are Portland food carts & trucks aplenty, serving remarkable cuisine at low prices. If you have a favorite food truck that’s always changing locations, you can easily track them down with apps like Truckster.

One of the most popular Portland food carts is Nong’s. It serves authentic Thai cuisine and people gravitate towards its specialty: Khao Man Gai. Khao Man Gai is poached chicken with a comforting soup, jasmine rice, and a sauce that goes POW in your mouth.

Tasty n Sons

The restaurant’s chef uses his travel experiences around the world to create dishes that sing. Eating here is almost like traveling around the world without leaving your seat. The menu has Moroccan chicken, shrimp tostadas, fried catfish bites, and more delectable dishes from various continents to amaze you.

Tasty n Alder

There’s nothing more American than a big juicy steak. Tasty n Alder makes perfect steaks and serves them to you at perfect prices, especially when you visit during happy hour.

The restaurant uses only quality meat cuts and heightens the flavor with its perfected recipe. The restaurant also has a nice ambiance and a fine selection of drinks for fantastic lunches and dinners.

Grassa Northwest Portland

Those who love Italian have to stop over at Grassa for its handmade pastas. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is its Cacio e Pepe. Its other popular dish has a strong American influence—pork belly mac and cheese.

You get big portions of food at affordable prices. Also, the restaurant is comfortable, service is quick, and you can eat there at any time of the day without having to dress upscale. It’s perfetto!

Tusk

Ever had Middle-Eastern food? The flavor depth will blow you away. The chefs at Tusk do a great job with a wide selection of Middle-Eastern cuisine that you can pair with drinks from the restaurant’s artistic cocktail menu.

The food is a bit pricey but worthwhile just for the restaurant’s ambiance and delicious dishes.

Afuri

Afuri is a popular Tokyo ramen chain with branches in Portland. Here, you’ll get various authentic ramen, sushi, tsukune, and other traditional Japanese dishes. The restaurant may be in the US, but customers are served with the same level of care, thoughtfulness, and hospitality that you can only find in a true Japanese restaurant.

Hat Yai

Hat Yai offers Thai food with a special Malaysian twist. The restaurant’s fried chicken with sticky rice is exceptional. But if you want to try something different from the usual fare, you can’t go wrong with the Malay-style curry and roti.

Pine Street Market

If you want one location where you can taste food from all over the world, drop in at Pine Street Market. It’s an open space that sets your stomach growling with aromas from the several restaurants within.

The best part about this location is you don’t have to choose where to eat. Simply try food from various places by hopping from one stall to the next. Just make sure you don’t skip Marukin Ramen.

Ready for your Portland food adventure? Be sure to bring a big appetite.

What is Portland Known For?

What Is Portland Known For

What’s Portland famous for? A lot! But because we don’t want to overwhelm you, we are going to limit our list to the city’s most famous attractions.

The Saturday Market

Portland is a hodgepodge of everything that’s hip in the US right now, and you can find it all at the Saturday Market. It’s a colorful event that runs on Saturdays and Sundays in Portland’s historic Chinatown. You’ll find everything from food and drinks to crafts and more from local artisans.

Food Truck Scene

Almost every city has a food truck scene, but the best food trucks in Portland, OR are totally unique. There are food trucks and carts offering five-star meals and desserts from countries around the world.

Are you craving Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Italian, or a mishmash of cultural flavors? There’s probably more options than you know what to do with. And to make finding the perfect truck to whet your appetite a breeze, there are apps like Truckster.

The Arboretum

If you love the outdoors, Portland has fantastic trails, gorges, waterfalls, gorgeous parks, and more. But if you’d rather experience the beauty of the outdoors indoors, you need to try out the Hoyt Arboretum. It’s huge and contains various flora from different continents. Simply put, it’s Portland’s own Garden of Eden.

Thriving Art Scene

Portland is the origin of several talented creatives, like Matt Groening, Elliot Smith, Gus Van Sant, and others. More artists are being born in the city every day and it’s evident in the works that come out of the Oregon College of Art.

The school’s Centrum Gallery and Retail Craft Gallery showcase the works of various artists. You can also visit the Museum of Contemporary Craft or simply stroll through the Alberta Arts District to view its amazing murals.

Distillery Row

Portland is famous for its local breweries. Each brewery is different and offers something unique, from heady black beers to organic IPAs. Take a tour of the breweries and you are bound to find several with something special to please your taste buds.

But if beer is not your preferred poison, you should head to Distillery Row, just east of the Willamette River. It’s a neighborhood of distilleries and you’ll find everything from gin and vodka to whiskey and brandy from various brands.

Most of the distilleries are open to tours, which is the perfect opportunity to sample the unique craftsmanship of each distillery.

Coffee Like No Other

How do you like your coffee? If you are a fan of quality roasts, you should know that Portland’s coffee is some of the best in the US. Stumptown is probably the city’s most famous roaster, selling to people in New York and other states.

Other famous Portland roasters are Coava, Courier Coffee, Extracto Coffee, and Coffeehouse Northwest.

Foodie Paradise

Aside from the food trucks and carts, Portland also has regular brick-and-mortar establishments that feed the masses. Check out Laurelhurst Market for an epic meat dinner that even Vikings would envy, or visit Le Pigeon for something fancy.

And if you’re craving desserts, Voodoo Donuts, Crave Bake Shop, and many more are waiting to load you with enough tasty treats to keep you grinning all day.

As long as you are in Portland, going hungry or running out of cuisine options isn’t likely.

Bicycle Rides

Portland is one of the few cities committed to going green. Because of this, cycling is very popular. Since there are so many scenic bike trails, you’ll definitely have a great time exploring the city from behind handlebars. It’s also a great way to burn off some of the calories from sampling Portland’s numerous food trucks and foodie joints.

Head on over to Portland to experience these activities and more firsthand.

Why Should We “Keep Austin Weird?”

Why Should We Keep Austin Weird

Most visitors have no idea what keeping Austin weird means. We’ll try to explain it and why keeping the “weird” alive is important.

The History of Keeping Austin Weird

Before “Keep Austin Weird” became a famous slogan on signs, shirts, mugs, and more, it was a notion. In the ‘70s, Austin was where up-and-coming artists came to get their big break and where techies came to innovate.

By the ‘90s, Austin was hosting festivals like the Austin City Limits and legends like Willie Nelson. The tech scene was also booming thanks to the presence of Motorola, IBM, and other tech giants within the city.

Even though the area had become popular, it hadn’t become as popular as to erode the city’s core essence. But the more successful the city became, the more people and businesses began to pour in, remolding the look and sound of Austin.

From an economic standpoint, this was good. But from a cultural standpoint, not so great. The influx of new people, big businesses, and the constant changes were diluting and eroding a lot of the things that made Austin unique and famous.

To prevent industrial growth from wiping out Austin’s natural ecosystem and personality, the movement to maintain the city’s weirdness was born.

The Movement to Keep Austin Weird

Depending on who you ask, the term “keep Austin weird” was born on the radio when Red Wassenich called in to share his perspective on how a new culture of high-tech and luxury were eroding what makes Austin special.

When asked why he made his contribution, he replied, “I don’t know. It helps keep Austin weird.”

After he made the statement, Wassenich realized he’d struck a slogan goldmine. Not too long after, he and his wife began printing and sharing bumper stickers carrying the phrase.

Before long, Austin locals were chanting the motto. The slogan soon spread across Texas, and next thing you know, Portland had its variation: “Keep Portland Weird.”

Why Keep it Weird?

Austin is one of those few cities where various ingredients come together to make it whole and unique. According to Truckster, even the food scene is different, with best food trucks in Austin serving familiar dishes with a weird twist.

Changes in the economy, landscape, and the way people do business were gradually taking away the things that made Austin the place its locals knew and loved, which is what led to the “keep it weird movement.”

For example, many of the local creatives were of the opinion that the city’s expanding infrastructure was taking away key features that made the city ideal for artists to flourish.

Proof of this can be seen in 2003 when BookPeople, a famous local bookstore in the city and a landmark, was almost driven to extinction.
How?

The city government at the time was providing millions of dollars in government waivers to Borders Group, a national book chain, to facilitate their moving to Austin. If Borders Group were to open in Austin, the financial incentive, plus their larger resources, would have given them an edge over competing local businesses, like BookPeople.

To protect the city and local businesses, “keep Austin weird” once again became a battle cry. Eventually, the local government had no choice but to side with local businesses.

Failure to keep Austin weird may lead to short-term economic prosperity, but it could also result in the death of what makes Austin a Mecca for creatives and tourists. That doesn’t mean keeping the weirdness requires Austin to remain in the Stone Age. It simply means finding a balance between evolving and retaining the heart and soul of Austin.

By finding that balance, the unique quirks of Austin will still be there, setting the city apart from its neighbors. More importantly, the city will remain a haven for creatives and retain that magnetic attraction that keeps tourists coming back for more weirdness.

Famous People from Portland, Oregon

Famous People From Portland, Oregon

Portland is famous for many things: food, sights, sounds, and more. It’s a wonderful city with a unique environment that’s responsible for molding some of our most beloved celebrities. That’s right! Some of your favorite celebrities are from Portland.

Want to find out who? Read on.

Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk is the literary genius that brought us Fight Club, the cult classic with some of the best performances from Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. I’d tell you more about Fight Club, but the first rule of Fight Club is don’t talk about Fight Club.

But I can tell you that Palahniuk wrote Fight Club in 1996, after which it was made into the famous movie that it now is. After Fight Club, Palahniuk wrote other famous books, such as Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, Haunted, and more. Some were made into movies, but none have so far achieved the same level of box-office success as Fight Club.

Matt Groening

The Simpsons, Futurama, and Disenchanted wouldn’t exist without this genius. Matt Groening was born in 1954 in Portland and spent his early life there before moving to Olympia, WA, to attend college.

While Groening has done great work on many other TV shows, his most famous creation is The Simpsons, an animated sitcom that’s been on since 1989. The show has a global fan base and is a huge franchise.

James Beard

Where would American cuisine be without the influence of James Beard?

One of Portland’s greatest prides, James Beard was born in the city in 1903 and grew up to be one of the most famous chefs in the US. He’s also a world-famous food author.

He’s fondly remembered as the “the Dean of American cookery” thanks to his many outstanding achievements in the culinary world. There’s also a James Beard Foundation, which delivers awards and scholarships to talented young chefs with big dreams and other actors in the culinary world.

Aside from his foundation, the influence of James Beard touches many of food trucks in Portland, as well as restaurants.

Courtney Love

Courtney Love in her own right is a famous singer from the ‘90s. But she’s most famous for being married to Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana. Love spent a lot of her formative years in Portland and other parts of Oregon.

Gus Van Sant

Good Will Hunting was an amazing movie that won several awards. The performances of Matt Damon and Robin Williams were key to the movie’s success, but Gus Van Sant’s directing is what brought it all together.

Aside from Good Will Hunting, other famous movies from Director Gus Van Sant include My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy, Milk, and Paranoid Park, some of which was shot in Portland.

Elliot Smith

A talented, award-winning artist who died at the young age of 34, Elliot Smith was a versatile songwriter and musician. His song, Miss Misery, won an Oscar after appearing in the movie Good Will Hunting.

Smith was proud of his Portland heritage and mentioned his city a lot in his songs.

Beverly Cleary

She wasn’t born in Portland, but Beverly Cleary is still celebrated as one of the city’s icons. She wrote several young adult novels that went on to be bestsellers, especially her books with Ramona as the protagonist.

Beverly Cleary School is named in her honor and multiple events are held every year to celebrate her legacy.

Carrie Brownstein

Famous for her role on the hit TV series Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein is one of Portland’s talented actresses, musicians, and writers.
Do you know any other famous people from Portland? Share with us in the comments.