Mark’s Carts, Ann Arbor’s first outdoor food cart courtyard, is scheduled to open Monday with seven vendors serving everything from house-made chorizo corn dogs to vegan summer rolls with peanut sauce.
The brainchild of Downtown Home & Garden owner Mark Hodesh, Mark’s Carts will include seven individually owned and operated food carts and will be located in a fenced area off of West Washington Street between South First Street and North Ashley Street, behind Hodesh’s store. Hodesh plans to eventually have 10 carts.
While Hodesh had hoped to open the operation by the end of April, the weather got in the way. A wet, cold spring delayed construction work, he said. “We’ve had cranky weather,” he said.
But concrete was being poured today and work will continue until the Monday opening. Renovation work for the adjacent commercial kitchen, located inside the single-story Union Hall at 208 W. Liberty, is completed.
Some of the cart operators are still in the process of gaining permits and other paper work, and Hodesh said he doesn’t expect all seven to be up and running until later next week.
While cart operators will set their own hours, Mark’s Cart will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Hodesh said he expects lunch, at least initially, to be the busiest time.
“I think lunch will be a hit first and that dinner will develop over time and will eventually outshine lunch. But it will take longer,” he said.
Hodesh said he continues to look for more cart operators. He’s currently considering two Indian food applications and is hoping for wood fired pizza and perhaps Jamaican food. “But I’m open to anyone with an interesting food idea,” he said. Applications for a cart and more information on Mark’s Carts can be found on-line at www.markscartsa2.com.
The seven carts include:
—Darcy’s Cart, featuring locally sourced food such as a breakfast burrito and short rib kimchi tacos.
—Debajo del Sol, Spanish food with paellas and tapas, including house-made chorizo corn dogs.
—eat, with a menu that features locally source sliders.
—Humble Hogs, a food cart operation from the Houston area, moving to Ann Arbor to feature headcheese hoagies, pork-n-beans and more.
—The Lunch Room, a vegan menu that will include curry roasted potatoes and summer rolls with peanut sauce.
—People’s Pierogi, with homemade pierogi with traditional fillings such as potato and cheese and with experimental fillings.
—San Street, with Asian street food.
Cost for a space at Mark’s Carts, which includes use of the commercial kitchen, cart space in the courtyard and utilities is $7,500, Hodesh said. Mark’s Carts will be open from March through November. There will be seating in the courtyard.
Mark’s Carts occupies 2,700 square feet of space. Access will be from Washington Street and through Downtown Home and Garden.