Lansing, MI: Couple Plans to Open Restaurant on Wheels

The Purple Carrot Food Truck

By Lauren Gibbons |

The Purple Carrot Food Truck

Anthony Maiale wants to bring a different kind of restaurant to the Lansing area — a restaurant on wheels.

Maiale and girlfriend Nina Santucci, who co-own a truck they plan on turning into a mobile restaurant called The Purple Carrot, said the truck likely will be in different locations throughout the city once it’s up and running and will serve a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

The truck is scheduled to open May 6 in the parking lot of 4360 S. Hagadorn Road.

Food trucks are a common sight in many large cities, and Maiale said he thought the idea would fly in Greater Lansing, especially in East Lansing, where students looking to eat cheap and good food on the go might be interested in coming to the business.

He said he thought the truck idea, given the economic times, was safer than opening a business up front.

“I want to open up a restaurant, but I wanted to be a little safe, too,” Maiale said. “I can open up a food truck and not worry about losing money if the business doesn’t work.”

East Lansing Planning & Community Development Director Tim Dempsey said a business such as Maiale’s food truck would be subject to some kind of city licensing, either under the concessionaire policy or a peddling policy, depending on the specific nature of the business.

Concessionaire locations in the downtown include the corner of Albert Avenue and Abbot Road, the corner of Albert and M.A.C. Avenues and Albert Avenue and Charles Street. The city already has received two applications for concessionaire licenses in East Lansing, Dempsey said.

The policy concerning concessionaire operations in East Lansing recently was updated at the East Lansing City Council’s March 15 meeting and now allows vendors with a license to sell merchandise from 7 a.m. to midnight in designated locations.

Dempsey said the presence of concessionaires and other street vendors in the downtown area would provide a unique opportunity for potential business owners to test the marketplace and also would add a new level of variety to the streets of East Lansing.

“Downtown concessionaires provide some more street life, and that’s important,” Dempsey said.
Maiale said he hoped The Purple Carrot would garner a lot of attention because of its uniqueness and the quality of the food provided.

“Hopefully, this will spread our name a lot easier, quicker and faster,” Maiale said.

Lauren Mooradian, an international relations sophomore, said the food truck idea might be good for students because it would be an easier and cheaper way to get food on campus.

“You generally have to pay more to get food to come to you — this (likely would) be cheaper,” she said. “It sounds pretty innovative.”