The new Hillsboro Downtown Station, a next-level food cart pod, is a family-dining dream come true. Families can find plenty of options (so even the pickiest eaters are sure to find something suited to their tastes), an indoor kids’ space for them to bop around while waiting, lots of outdoor seating, and a vast indoor seating area with real bathrooms.
Hillsboro Downtown Station opened in July, and on my family’s recent visit was home to 23 food-and-drink businesses, including an indoor coffee spot and a bar. (Admittedly, parking was a challenge and we circled around a few times before finding street parking.) We saw a wide variety of dishes from globe-spanning cuisines, including Argentinian empanadas, German goulash and Cajun crawfish.
My 8-year-old son, Cruz, opted for potstickers from Seoul Korean Fusion ($7 for 6). The potstickers were extra crunchy and came with a soy dipping sauce. He offered us tastes and then happily finished them off. My 11-year-old daughter, Adela, spotted a Mexican food cart, Arreola’s Kitchen, and decided on carne asada nachos with salsa and pico de gallo on the side ($12) and an horchata rice-milk drink. Her large plate was piled with tortilla chips, cheese, beans, steak, sour cream and guacamole — and she nearly finished it off.
My husband opted for sushi as he almost always does whenever the chance presents itself. (Another great thing about big cart pods: No one else in the family likes sushi, so we rarely go to sushi restaurants — but sushi carts allow him to get his favorite rolls.) He approved of the salmon rolls ($14) and the crunchy rolls with tempura vegetables ($11) from Brother’s Burrito Sushi & Rolls. He also grabbed a nonalcoholic beer that was on tap at The Station Brewery & Taphouse in the indoor seating area. I opted for the eggplant Parmesan plate from Spaghett-About It ($16). It came with two massive slabs of eggplant that were fried to perfection and served on a sizable portion of spaghetti with red sauce. The eggplant parm was satisfying and cozy, something an Italian grandma would serve to you. I shared the cheesy garlic breadstick with Cruz. We went back to the cart for dessert: two chocolate chip cannoli ($10) and a slice of tiramisu ($7). Cruz had never had tiramisu before and discovered he liked the taste of coffee desserts. Both desserts were solid, but the cannoli shells were a tad too thick and the filling could have used a little more oomph. Still, there wasn’t a crumb of either dessert left.
My family really enjoyed our visit with everyone finding something to suit our tastes. We don’t live anywhere near Hillsboro, but if we did, the pod would make it into our rotation of dining spots we frequent.
Hillsboro Downtown Station
320 SE Baseline St., Hillsboro
Open daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Daily coffee and breakfast starting at 8 a.m.