New food carts will tempt Tigard’s taste buds

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Chris and Mia Selders, with their daughter Phoebe, sold hand-crafted ice cream at the Tigard Area Farmers Market last year and are expanding their offerings with their food cart this year. Barbara Sherman/Tigard Life
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Get ready to lick your chops, Tigard! Two new food carts are holding grand openings in Universal Plaza on April 6 with “soft” openings set for March 30-31.

Wow Cow, featuring Korean cuisine, and Nunny & Pheebs, a walk-up ice cream parlor selling hand-crafted ice cream, will tempt visitors’ taste buds alongside West Coast Torta, now starting its second year in the Plaza. They are all part of the City of Tigard’s Launch Pod business accelerator program for new entrepreneurs.

Wow Cow owner Jay Kwon, a second-generation Korean-American, is excited to share his favorite foods and 100-year-old family recipes with the public in his first food cart, which he bought, outfitted and trailered to the site himself.

“I pretty much have always liked both American and Korean food, and delicious food makes people happy,” he said. “This is a good way for people to try Korean food. I have taken family recipes and added my own twist to them. I will primarily serve beef and offer traditional Korean dishes, rice bowls, burgers, sliders, Philly cheese-steak sandwiches, hot dogs, Korean popcorn chicken, and chicken nuggets with Korean dipping sauces. I describe it as Korean food meets Shake Shack, which is my take on Korean-American comfort food, and my price points are about half of what Korean restaurants charge.”

Nearby is Nunny & Pheebs, and once you meet Mia and Chris Selders and their adorable 7-year-old daughter Phoebe, the business name makes total sense. “Nunny” is the name of Phoebe’s stuffed bunny, and “Pheebs” is her nickname.

The couple sold ice cream last year at the Tigard Farmers Market and have now expanded their business into a food cart, which is a long way from where they started. After struggling with infertility for several years and burned out from working full time, “making ice cream on the weekends became a therapeutic outlet,” Mia said. “Phoebe and I started giving out a few of our homemade popsicles and ice cream bars from our driveway… Pretty soon after, we were churning out gallons and delivering pints to friends and having ice-cream tastings at parks.

“A year ago in the spring, we ran a Kickstarter campaign and successfully raised money to purchase an ice cream tricycle along with essential equipment. What followed was permitting and licensing with access to a commercial kitchen.”

That led Mia to be able to produce enough ice cream for the Tigard and West Linn farmers markets last year, and this year in the food cart they will be selling scoops, cream puffs, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes, tea, coffee and tea sandwiches.

On the other hand, Kwon, who was raised in Tigard, had five years of experience in food service, including working in restaurants and six different food carts and catering, when the food cart opportunity came along.

“Having friends help with project and buying used commercial equipment and finding deals was the only way I could open anything being on a budget,” Kwon said. “Meeting Llyod was a blessing. He was a big reason why I think I’m here today. Having these resources and opportunity from the city helped tremendously.”

After Kwon learned he could open his food cart, “I only had two months to create a business and brand and menu,” he said. “My hair was on fire. This opportunity that the city is providing is crazy. They are helping entrepreneurs thrive instead of survive.”

Customers can order online, and Kwon also will offer Coca Cola beverages, root beer floats and Korean ice cream sandwiches along with a catering menu.

“I am just trying to make good food and make people happy,” he said, and so is Mia. “We’re extremely excited to be doing this,” she said. “People are going through a lot, and I hope we can bring a smile to their faces.”

Chris added, “It is a lot more convenient to be here permanently instead of only at the farmers market.”

According to Tigard Economic Development Manager Lloyd Purdy, the Launch Pod business accelerator program provides initially reduced rent and utilities to first-time business owners; monthly business coaching; the opportunity to learn best practices from each other; time to perfect their business model; and access to a marketplace of customers.

“The goal of the Launch Pod is to remove barriers that limit an entrepreneur’s ability to start a business and support them through their start-up phase,” Purdy said.

Kwon added, “I’m excited to work alongside fellow entrepreneurs and inspiring food concepts, Josh and Alfredo of West Coast Torta and Mia and Chris of Nunny and Pheebs. I guarantee these guys have the best tortas and ice cream in town. Your tastebuds can’t miss if you come down here.” 

Wow Cow will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. initially, and Nunny & Pheebs will be open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

People can follow Wow Cow on Instagram at Wowcowhq or email info@wowcowhq.com; for more information on Nunny and Pheebs, email nunnyandpheebs@gmail.com.

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