After a lot of little fits and starts, it looks as though, with the opening of Mark’s Carts, food cart culture is finally beginning to take hold in Ann Arbor. We may still be a decade or so behind the scene in Portland, but it feels good to actually be in the race. Here’s wishing all the fledgling food entrepreneurs the best of luck… I hope to make it out soon myself. In the meantime, however, I’ve got a firsthand report to share from my friend Arun, who has visited the food carts (211 W. Washington, Ann Arbor) the last two afternoons. Here it is:
“I’ve been by the food court two days running. Today we had some awesome tacos ($2) – perhaps the micro greens were a bit precious, but the use of Clancy’s Fancy brought it back to Earth. The baked beans ($4) were strangely subdued – missing the typical amounts of sugar and molasses – but turned out to be appropriate since the accompanying braised pork belly ($6) was like candy. Yesterday, I had the set of three sliders. The first was a sloppy Yousef, aka Moroccan-style ground lamb with yogurt sauce, the second a Korean BBQ with kimchi, and finally a pork loin with a country mustard gremolata. I thought they were all great – very individual and distinct – but they worked together and were notably well balanced with each other in terms of flavor intensity. A locally-sourced, meat-heavy lunch for $10 for all three. Next time I would order one and something with more vegetables. It’s a fun, if self-satisfied, very A2, experience.”
I don’t know who Arun’s taco vendor was, but I’m certain that he got the sliders from the folks at EAT, and, for what it’s worth, I agree with his assessment. I sampled their stuff at an event at Pot and Box in October, and it was great.
From what I hear, a few spaces may still be open, so, if you’ve always wanted to open a restaurant, but haven’t had the capital necessary, now might be your chance. The cost to participate is $7,500 for the season, which runs March through November, and includes access to a commercial kitchen. (The way it breaks down is $833.34 per month for the months March, April and May, $1666.68 for the months of June, July and August, and $0.00 per month for the months of September, October and November.) Copies of the contract can be found by following the Mark’s Carts link above.