You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Mark's Carts outdoor food courtyard to debut Monday in downtown Ann Arbor

By Janet Miller

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.


Kevin Theaker smooths out concrete floor for the courtyard that will house Mark's Carts.

Janet Miller | For

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 South 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

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 sourced 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.

Janet Miller is a freelance reporter for



Fri, May 6, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

Folks, you don't know what you're missing So headcheese don't you be dissing I think it's divine Being derived of swine That IS its appeal They even include the squeal Now, I do realize that I tend to proselytize But forgive you must In USDA I do trust


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

I think it's great to see a local small business creatively expanding their operation and providing a business opportunity for other locals at the same time. We are lucky to be part of the Ann Arbor economy and community.

Mike D.

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

Exotic Cuisine (Syrian) up on Plymouth should move down here for the summer. It's some of the best food in Ann Arbor in one of the worst locations.

Mike D.

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

Now I am regretting no longer working downtown. On second thought, my waistline will benefit from being far away from this. Yum!


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 10:31 a.m.

I have been waiting for something as cool as this. Street Carts in Austin TX have the coolest and best food. How can you go wrong with Kimchi short rib tacos?

rusty shackelford

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 9:29 a.m.

You know who love street carts? drunk people. You know where there are a lot of drunk people? Within 3-4 blocks of this location. But you know when there are not a lot of drunk people? Between the hours of 8am and 10pm. It's nice the carts can set there own hours, but Hodesh should allow them to be open way past 10pm for those carts who have a desire to earn a profit.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

Wish i had an extra 7500 bucks, love to join the fray. Prime spot for panhandling though, cash is out in plain view.

thomas siterlet

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

This could end up being a really cool "destination spot" for downtown. I'm rooting for it & Mark should be thanked & praised for implementing this novel idea!!.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

How good can it get!!! the idea and wish them much success. Looking forward to my first visit.

Nick Danger

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

Sounds good but if it has anything to do with downtown home and garden the prices will make Zingermans look cheap


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

Downtown Home and Garden sells quality goods, just like Zingerman's. You have to expect to pay for quality. McDonald's and Home Depot are always an option for you if you want cheap wares first.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

I think you menat S. Ashley. N. Ashley starts at Huron just like N. First does.

Mike D.

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Difference is that some people get paid to write. Others comment for free.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 10:24 a.m.

Yeah, and people tell you about them. Then you fix them if you can.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

You must have meant to say meant, errors happen.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

This is a great idea! I hope that Mark's Carts has much success. The vendor menus sound delicious. The first things I'll try are the curry potatoes and summer roll w/peanut sauce. I love the items sold in Downtown Home&Garden, and always love a glimpse of their beautiful cat. I'll see y'all on Monday!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

Hoagies made from &quot;head cheese&quot;. Eww! The rest of the vendor's stuff sounds kinda interesting. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

YUM!!! Now they need a dessert-y cart. I'm tired of the cupcake craze ... maybe pasteries? (I do make a good baklava ...)

Jojo B

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:10 p.m.

Wonderful idea! I simply can't wait! I will definitely be a patron. I hope that Pilars might make an appearance here at some point!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

Can't wait for consistent access to Darcy's Cart's Burritos!!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

It all sounds great except the headcheese hoagies. I'll stick with Grabriels for hoagies tho.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

Gabriels YUM! Now that would be a great cart.

Patti Smith

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

I can't even believe there is something as cool as that pierogi stand on this earth. Truly awesome!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

I think this sound very of luck!