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Portland business inspired by Butte's pork chop sandwiches

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Oct 02, 2022

A Butte native has opened a food cart in Portland and one of the menu items—the Butte, America Chop—is inspired by the Freeway Tavern’s pork chop sandwich.

"We decided to open a food cart and were kind of trying to figure out what kind of menu we wanted to do and so we decided to kind of marry both of our loves of pork chop sandwiches from where we grew up," said Cindi Rask, co-owner of Chop Shop PDX.

Cindi Rask grew up in Butte and her partner, Austin Timme, grew up in Indiana. The two share a love of pork chop sandwiches and decided to introduce their own spin on the well-known sandwich from their respective states in their food cart Chop Shop PDX.

"The coincidence of like both our backgrounds coming from strangely enough fried pork chop sandwiches it just seemed kind of harmonious in its actions," said Austin Timmie, co-owner of Chop Shop PDX.

The Indiana tenderloin is pounded out to be thin, breaded in saltine crackers, and fried. The beer battered and fried Butte, America chop is a homage to the Freeway Tavern’s signature Wop Chop sandwich.

Kathi Faroni, manager of the Freeway, says she’s happy that people can find inspiration in the food they serve.

"I think it’s great. I think it’s really great... If they have a business and they can sell it and they become successful, you know, more power to them. My father always wanted to see people successful," said Faroni.

The Freeway Tavern was opened in 1962 by Faroni’s father and her uncle. When she was 12 years old, her father put her to work peeling potatoes in the kitchen. Over the years, she’s met many different people from all over the world to try the wop chop.

"It’s just been a great success and it’s been here for many, many years. . . I mean people come from all over—all over the state, all over the world to get Wop chops," said Faroni.

Rask and Timmie have met Montanans and people from all over the Midwest try their version of the pork chop sandwich to see if it has that hometown feel.

"Everyone’s been satisfied. We’ve got lots of people coming back so we’re happy with it," said Timme.