Really this has all been a dream; you know the kind that have been sitting in the back of your head for years. You’ve run through how awesome it would be and how happy it would make you, but it just seems so unfeasible. For Wade Norris, that dream has been about making cheese steaks. Coming from Boston, he’s arguably grown up with the best in the country. Every single trip back home was highlighted by being able to eat his favorite food. Flying is expensive though, so back around 2001 he got together with some more knowledgeable individuals and learned to make them himself. His son’s 8th birthday was training ground and they went off with a hit. Now at 22, he’s attended innumerable events with his dad’s sandwiches on showcase. Family outings, children’s parties, church get togethers… the reviews garnered were consistently positive.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising then that he wants a food cart. Being a new student with a family, life hadn’t supported that want. Recently though, things started falling into place. He found an opportunity to grill at Last Thursday, a big art event that occurs on NE Portland the last Thursday of each month. He didn’t have much time – in fact Wade put together everything needed (enough apparently to score 100% on his health inspection) within 24 hours. Rushed, he didn’t know what to expect. With help from the family they set up shop, fired up the grill and hoped for the best.
Every sandwich sold out. It was easy to see with the quality cuts of steak being used. The Original blends that steak with red and green peppers, onions, and a thick slice of cheese. The Combo adds mushrooms and Italian sausage, truly making one of the best sandwiches I’d had in a while. What really caught the attention of onlookers is his upcoming masterpiece, “The Louise.” Named after his mother, it’s a batch of collard greens and freshly fried chicken topped with 4-cheese Mac & Cheese, onions, and peppers. While not yet available, he promises to bring the sandwich to life once he has a cart. How nice is it then, that members of his church are investing in his progress and donating a trailer to the cause?
The taste is incredible. The experience is even better. In my short time there I met friends and supporters, as well as a few who tried the sandwiches last month and are back for more. This food has the ability to do well, and if the powers that be keep moving in the right direction, Wade will have one of the hottest stands in the city. Take this opportunity to check it out at the very beginning.
Currently, Wade’s Steak & Cheese can be found at every Last Thursday near the corner of NE 21st/Alberta. He can also be found weekly at the Saturday markets held in the NE Hollywood district. If business picks up, he’ll have a cart up and running in the coming months. Support Wade in the quest to fulfill his dream. Go get a steak & cheese sandwich.