Viking Soul Food opens up new Portland restaurant 

From trailer to welcoming brick-and-mortar storefront

Viking Soul Food

The atmosphere at Viking Soul Food is cozy and friendly, with a selection of Scandinavian artifacts to display, including a vintage cookbook.

Laila Simon

Transitioning from operating solely out of “Gudrun,” Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels’ “57 year old Streamline Duchess aluminum silver trailer,” and into a storefront on Portland’s Woodstock Boulevard just makes sense. The co-owners of one of Portland’s most famous food carts, Viking Soul Food, are seizing an opportunity to expand their menu and serve cocktails, beer, wine, and mead.

Viking Soul Food

Viking Soul Food is a new addition to the Portland, Ore., restaurant scene with its new brick-and-mortar locale in the southeastern part of the city.

Their new restaurant opened for business at the tail end of 2022 and the expanded space will allow them to add take-home deli items in addition to prepared food. It seats eight to 10 people at it its bar and is a second location from their original cart on Belmont Street. Selling deli items like their house smoked salmon, homemade Mjølner Beet Hot Sauce, and other sides like lingonberries is a natural fit. Viking Soul Food is already a holiday destination for those looking to get fresh lefse for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The cart gained a following for the robust menu, specializing in their beloved savory lefse wraps. From-scratch elements like handmade lefse, an original meatball recipe, and of course the decadent gjetost gravy even caught the eye of Guy Fieri of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” last year who said, “How have I existed this long without having this?”

When you eat Viking Soul Food’s offerings, you can taste the care and attention to detail in each dish. Megan brought her Scandinavian traditions to meld with Jeremy’s fresh ideas on street food and what that combination could be. They describe it as, “…taking a somewhat irreverent approach to tradition, while maintaining the utmost reverence for the ingredients [we] prepare.”

Viking Soul Food offers a variety of take-home items, all created with the owners’ special twist on Nordic cuisine.

Over the past six years, I’ve eaten a variety of their menu items—Troll Snack at Nordic Northwest’s ScanFair, seasonal mushroom hand pies at the cart in the fall, and each time I order a lefse wrap. The lefse is tender, yet strong enough to hold a hearty filling. While the meatball wrap is a little on the sweet side, I was so satisfied when I tried the pølse wrap for the first time this March. The mix of the meat with the bright cabbage really hit the spot. And the salmon wrap is always a go to, flavorful and fresh.

viking soul food

The wooden ceiling beams, floor, and bar help create a warm Nordic ambiance that is also at home in its Pacific Northwest setting.

At the suggestion of the staff, I ordered a couple of sides. The bright purple pickled eggs, complete with black pepper mayo and salmon caviar, were a fantastic bite. But my favorite thing I ate that day was the Root Vegetable Champ, mashed red and sweet potato cooked with cream and herbs. Pairing this with the completely unique beet hot sauce was such an unexpected flavor combination, and it was perfectly filling.

I hope this transition will open up new avenues for Viking Soul Food, which had customers filtering through steadily on a Saturday afternoon. The intentionality and incredible food that Megan and Jeremy have created reflects in the inviting atmosphere of this new restaurant. Definitely support them if you find yourself in southeast Portland.

Viking Soul Food
4422 S.E. Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97206
Open every day

All photos by Laila Simon

This article originally appeared in the July 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Laila Simon

Laila Simon is a writer in Minneapolis, who has been writing for The Norwegian American since 2017. Together with Kate Running, she is owns and operates Knit & Gather, a place where people come together to learn to knit. Laila is a dual citizen of Norway and the United States. When she’s not attempting ambitious recipes, she translates Norwegian poetry and adds to her houseplant collection.