Mark's Carts: Downtown Ann Arbor outdoor food courtyard to reopen next month with three new carts
Thomas Boulan, Photographer
The courtyard, located behind Downtown Home & Garden and off East Washington Street, will celebrate its grand reopening from 5 to 10 p.m. the night of FoolMoon, a procession of illuminated sculptures that leads into the annual FestiFools event.
The courtyard will be decorated in lights and have a fire pit, located yards away from the FoolMoon music stage.
Three new food carts are joining the courtyard this year: The Beet Box, an eclectic mix of fresh, healthy foods, a wood-fired personal pizza cart, and Cheese Dream, an artisan grilled cheese and soup vendor.
Downtown Home & Garden owner Mark Hodesh launched the food courtyard concept in May 2011 on a 2,700-square-foot parcel of land behind his store. He intended Mark’s Carts to act as a launching pad for businesses, allowing food vendors to dive into Ann Arbor’s food scene with lower operating costs than opening a storefront.
And so far, Hodesh told AnnArbor.com, the concept has been successful.
The Beet Box is run by a group of University of Michigan students interested in healthy food and community empowerment, according to its Kickstarter video. The group has raised $10,463 dollars to help buy a cart and other necessary supplies.
Last year, the vegan food cart The Lunch Room raised $10,500 with Kickstarter to open the cart, and reported a profitable first summer.
The hours for the courtyard are yet to be determined, but Hodesh said he’s encouraging more afternoon and evening hours from the carts.