Bucket Bites, a new food cart recently opened next to the Astoria Eco Wash along Marine Drive, is offering up homemade pasties and gravy.
Christine Karna, originally from Pennsylvania, said pasties were a traditional staple where she grew up. The baked pastries, largely associated with Cornwall, England, include meat and vegetables placed on half a pastry circle and crimped shut.
Karna makes every aspect of her pasties from scratch, along with a side of gravy. The cart also serves up sides such as Scotch eggs — a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, covered in panko and deep-fried — along with chocolate whoopie pies filled with cream.
The name Bucket Bites pays homage to the metal lunchboxes carried by miners in Alaska. Christine and her husband, Chris, a fourth-generation Astorian, originally conceived of the food cart while living in Valdez, Alaska, even buying and building out a van to run the business.
“We had saved seed money,” Christine Karna said. “We were literally within three months of getting that on board when family became sick down here and we knew some plans were going to change.”
The couple moved to Astoria with their daughter, Kate, in 2014, barging their food truck to Seattle and driving it down. But before they could start their venture on the North Coast, Christine Karna was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
After going through treatment and being cancer-free for three years, she and her husband started working again on Bucket Bites. They had a food cart custom-built in Portland and parked it next to Astoria Eco Wash, long home to the El Asadero Mexican food truck and a rotating cast of neighboring carts along Marine Drive.
Bucket Bites replaced the short-lived Astoria Express, a comfort food cart started by Seaside couple Gustavo Martinez and Cindy Mendez. They had replaced Finni’s Fine Foods, an Italian food cart that relocated to Eugene.
The couple are looking to sell the van they had hoped to start Bucket Bites in. It made more sense in Alaska, where they would have had to constantly drive between town and winter sporting events in the nearby mountains, Chris Karna said.
Christine Karna mainly runs Bucket Bites while her husband works in facilities maintenance for the Astoria School District. The couple’s daughter, Kate, helps out while on break from Portland State University.
Bucket Bites opens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Next week, the cart will expand its hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.