Vegan Street Food Coming to Ann Arbor!

Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor, MI

By The Lunch Room

Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor, MI

Today, The Lunch Room —the vegan foods brainchild of Phillis Engelbert and Joel Panozzo — launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance a food cart. is a website that facilitates the raising of start-up funds for creative projects. Entrepreneurs communicate their ideas through videos and offer rewards for donations. The Lunch Room hopes to raise $8,000 in a 30-day period. As of 3:00 pm, just eight hours after the launch of the campaign, $1,222 had been raised.

The Lunch Room was founded by next-door-neighbors and vegan foodies Engelbert and Panozzo in the summer of 2010. The pair began by cooking elaborate vegan meals for large groups of friends. In October the effort entered its “pop-up restaurant” phase. An underground undertaking, The Lunch Room operated on a reservations-only basis and served food at several different locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. It advertised its first event to an email list of 85 friends; as the word spread, that list grew to its current size of 375. The Lunch Room had held eleven dining events as of early March—including brunches, lunches, dinners—and had served over 450 meals. Reservations lists were capped at 35 to 50 people and sold out every time—sometimes within a day or two of being announced.

In early February, Engelbert and Panozzo learned of the initiative by Downtown Home & Garden owner Mark Hodesh to create a street food courtyard on W. Washington St., just west of Ashley, in downtown Ann Arbor. The Lunch Room applied for a coveted cart space and was accepted. The Lunch Room is now preparing for a spring and summer of selling food from a concessions cart. It will serve fresh, healthy, delicious, and economical breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sides, and baked goods.

For more information about The Lunch Room, see