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La Carreta Mexican Restaurant
The text "La Carreta" above "Mexican Restaurant", all over a colorful background with food and tableware
Photograph of the exterior of a two-story building
The restaurant's exterior in 2021
Restaurant information
Established 1990 (1990)
Food type Mexican
Street address 4534 Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard
City Portland
County Multnomah
State Oregon
Postal/ZIP code 97202
Country United States
Coordinates 45°29′24″N 122°39′11″W / 45.4900°N 122.6531°W / 45.4900; -122.6531Coordinates: 45°29′24″N 122°39′11″W / 45.4900°N 122.6531°W / 45.4900; -122.6531

La Carreta Mexican Restaurant is a Mexican restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The menu offers traditional cuisine including burritos, chile rellenos, chimichangas, enchiladas, fajitas, flautas, quesadilla, taquitos, and tostadas. Established in 1990, La Carreta has a banquet hall upstairs and has hosted a variety of events. The restaurant's colorful interior features hanging plants, murals, flags, tiled tables, and stucco walls. It has received a generally positive reception, especially for its margaritas and other drink options.

Description

La Carreta Mexican Restaurant, 2021 1
The restaurant's interior in 2021

La Carreta Mexican Restaurant is located at the intersection of McLoughlin and Holgate Boulevards in southeast Portland's Brooklyn neighborhood. Willamette Week's Martin Cizmar described the restaurant as a "mazelike Mexican roadhouse" with murals of people and prickly pears on stucco walls. The interior has hanging plants, some of which are decorated with small American and Mexican flags. There are tiled tables, chairs upholstered with traditional blankets, and booths. In 2013, the Portland Mercury's Ned Lannamann described La Carreta as a "funky, homey Mexican joint" serving "ample Mexican fare and dizzying margaritas", writing, "It's a Portland old-school favorite, unsullied by the hands of hipsterdom." The second level has a private banquet hall for events.

La Carreta, PDX, 2021 5
Sign outside the restaurant

The menu offers Mexican cuisine such as burritos, chile colorado, chile rellenos, chimichangas, enchiladas, fajitas (chicken or beef), tostadas, tortillas, rice and beans, and chips and salsa. The Fiesta Platter features quesadillas with green chili and Monterey Jack, flautas with shredded beef, taquitos, and "deluxe" nachos. The drink menu includes margaritas, beers, and coffee cocktails. More than 20 varieties of tequila were available, as of 2002, when blended margaritas were available for $2 during happy hour. The La Carreta coffee blends beans with Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico, and Kahlúa, and is topped with whipped cream and a cherry. Meals ended with a complementary scoop of ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, as of 2015.

La Carreta operates until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. The magazine PDX Parent described the restaurant as "spacious and colorful" and noted children could eat for free on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays after 4 p.m.

History

The site currently occupied by La Carreta previously housed a Waddle's Drive-In restaurant. La Carreta opened in 1990, according to its website.

La Carreta has hosted a variety of events. In 1991, the restaurant hosted the Portland–Guadalajara Sister City Association's eighth anniversary celebration. The event was attended by former commissioner Mildred Schwab and sister city scholarship recipients, and featured cantina music. In 2001, a representative from the Oregon Employment Department delivered a presentation on labor issues on behalf of the Pacific Printing & Imaging Association. The restaurant hosted a gathering following the death of a Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient in 2005. The Portland Mercury co-hosted the 2014 La Carreta Meltdown, a rock and roll show benefiting Sisters of the Road with performances by the Pynnacles, Eyelids (including John Moen), and Hutch Harris of The Thermals. The Multnomah County Republican Party's 2020 Lincoln Day dinner at the restaurant featured chairman James Buchal as a guest speaker, as well as state representative Mike Nearman and local political candidates.

Novelist Peter Rock references La Carreta in The Bewildered: A Novel (2005).

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