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Vegan convenience store Food Fight! expands to second location in Gateway district

Food Fight! has opened a second store in the Gateway District. (KATU)

After moving from New York City to Portland in the early 2000s, Emiko Badillo and her husband Chad Miller found that they had to schlep to a bunch of different stores to satisfy their vegan diet.

“We couldn't get all the things we wanted in one store when we were grocery shopping so we just decided to go for it and open our own -- and get super into credit card debt,” Miller said from behind the counter of the couple’s second all-vegan store, Food Fight!

The couple’s first store opened at 21st and Southeast Division Street in 2003, and then moved to Southeast 12 and Stark Street. They share a building with like-minded vegan business owners Herbivore Clothing, Scapegoat Tattoo and Sweetpea Baking Company.

Miller said the building came to be known as the vegan mini-mall, a name customers adopted and later out-of-town visitors discovered as a tourist stop, a particularly Portland, niche attraction.

From the beginning they tried to stock their shelves with more than old hippie, granola-heavy products. That includes coconut bacon and even vegan haggis and caviar to go along with meatless jerky and dozens of other non-dairy, non-meat products.

“We try to make it seem like less like self-flagellation, self-sacrifice and make it a bunch of fun food,” Miller said. “You don't have to give up corn dogs…"

The couple’s second Food Fight! opened two weeks ago at 11155 NE Halsey Street, in the changing and up-and-coming Gateway neighborhood.

The area is attracting new small business owners, including a new coffee shop called Jet Black, one of the first independent coffee shops in the neighborhood that shares the building with Food Fight! The coffee shop is looking at an early March opening.

For Rosalind and Clayton McCallard, Food Fight is one of dozens of locations the husband/wife team sell their vegan sandwiches under the own brand, Snackrilege Foods.

“Snackrilege really provides a niche in terms of providing healthy, delicious vegan grab-and-go food when you don’t want to stop and cook and you don’t want lentils,’’ Rosalind McCallard said. “Good, hearty sandwiches without the meat or dairy.”

Clayton McCallard helps design and name the sandwiches, which sport such names as Lord of the Wings, he BBQ Bunslawter, Steak Bite Love and the Notorious B.L.T.

The McCallard’s made their first ever delivery of their sandwiches to Food Fight! three years ago this month, but you can find the sandwiches at 35 locations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

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