Portland International Airport is now in the pop-up food-truck game, with the launch of mobile versions of Pok Pok (from Michelin-starred chef Andy Ricker) and Koi Fusion—both local spots with cult followings. It’s all part of a new program that gives small businesses a chance to test their success at the airport by letting them set up for six months at a time.
At Pok Pok, travelers can sample from a roster of easy-to-take fare such as mantou (Chinese steamed bun sandwiches stuffed with sweet pork), fish sauce-glazed tofu, and Thai-style omelets Koi Fusion is known for dishes like kalbi sliders and kimchi-topped wieners.
Portland isn’t the only airport taking advantage of the popularity—not to mention the buzz—of pop-up restaurants and shops. Copenhagen hosted celebrated chefs Mikkel Marschall, Thomas Rode, and David Johansen inside its terminals last summer, and Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has pop-up slots reserved for seasonal businesses such as Frae Frozen Yogurt.
San Francisco’s year-old Terminal 3-E, meanwhile, sets aside two retail spaces for local businesses that rotate every six months or a year. (They’re currently occupied by art dealer Collector and the olive oil purveyor McEvoy.)
Airports may be the perfect venue for pop-ups. The businesses appear overnight, and then they’re gone—much like the passengers.