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Posted on Wed, May 18, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Zingerman's backs Asian food business at Mark's Carts in downtown Ann Arbor

By Janet Miller

Ann Arbor-based Zingerman's Community of Businesses provided the financial backing and expertise to help two employees open an Asian street food cart in the new Mark’s Carts food courtyard in downtown Ann Arbor. The new operation, called San Street Cart, opened today.


Ji Hye Kim and Kristen Hogue Jackson — backed by Zingerman's — launched the San Street Cart at Mark's Carts food courtyard in downtown Ann Arbor.

Photo courtesy of Zingerman's

Zingerman’s Deli employees Ji Hye Kim and Kristen Hogue Jackson said they had a longstanding dream of starting an Asian street food business — and Mark’s Carts was the perfect match.

With Zingerman’s help, Kim and Hogue Jackson had been working on the concept of an Asian street food restaurant for a year-and-a-half. They decided to scale the project back to something smaller, such as opening a food cart, possibly at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

But when Mark Hodesh, owner of Downtown Home and Garden, announced early this year that he would open an outdoor food cart courtyard behind his store, Kim and Hogue Jackson knew the timing was perfect.

While they would someday like to open a restaurant under the Zingerman’s family umbrella, the food cart is a good start, Kim said. They may eventually also sell at the Farmers Market. San Street fits into Zingerman’s vision to expand by bringing in more partners to start new business ventures. Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery are past examples.

The next new food vendor at Mark's Carts is People’s Pierogi, which is expected to open the first week in June. An Indian food cart, Hut-K, which has a new brick-and-mortar location on Packard Road near Platt Road, is expected to open in about two months, Hodesh said. He continues to look for two more carts to fill out the courtyard.

San Street is a result of Kim’s dream to open a noodle shop and Hogue Jackson’s dream to open a dumpling store. Kim grew up in South Korea while Hogue Jackson visited family in Taiwan every summer. Both loved Asian street food.

“It’s really simple food,” Kim said. “It’s comfort food, dumplings and noodles, usually hand-held. It’s not complicated.”

San Street will offer about five different items, but only two or three of them will be sold on any given day. They kicked off their opening day with steamed pork buns, a Taiwanese open-faced sandwich on top of a hand-made bun.

San (pronounced sahn) refers to the number 3, a lucky number in the Asian culture. San Street will host a dinner May 24 at Zingerman’s Roadhouse that will feature Asian street food. The dinner is sold out. San Street Cart will have more limited hours for the rest of May but will be open for lunch seven days a week and also for dinner on the weekends beginning in June.

Janet Miller is a freelance reporter for



Fri, May 20, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

Had three pork buns yesterday...TASTY!


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

Well, excuse me for hoping that Mark's Carts was going to offer an AFFORDABLE local alternative to people who want a good lunch but don't feel like paying Zingerman's jacked-up prices to do so. Zingerman's getting in on the action is no surprise, they probably smelled blood in the water months ago in their bid for local monopoly of all things locally sourced and foodie. I actually refuse to pay the prices Zingerman's asks for their items, no matter how locally sourced, "gourmet", or served with a smile they are...which is all a just of packaging and propaganda most of the time with them anyway...and if similar pricing takes hold at Mark's Carts (which it will, as once one cart sees that another cart can ask 8 dollars for sandwich instead of the 4 or 6 they were originally, of course they will jack their prices up too....), I won't shop there either. This project was billed as being an original one and a good value for people eating downtown. I hope I'm not disappointed if it turns into another outlet for the outrageously high-priced smile-factory that is The Zingerman's Family of Businesses.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

But I am surprised that the quality of the food at Argeiro's hasn't killed the place. After trying their food several times over the years, I just don't understand why people choose to eat there. It is the equivalent of Papa Romano's.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Oddly, they haven't killed Kosmo Deli or the Teriyaki place at Kerrytown. Or Argiero's. Or... Really, anything apart from your common sense on this topic, as far as I can tell.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

@ Goofus I think it's hilarious that you mentioned Eve when talking about a reasonably priced meal. As for Zingerman's beating other businesses, how is it that they can have a higher price point ans still "run them (other businesses) down"? Is it because MAYBE, just maybe, they serve better tasting food? I personally would rather pay a little more for food that tastes good, and is sourced as locally as possible.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Zingerman's is for the parent's of UM students. Period.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 2:57 a.m.

I merely need to point out that the "coffee cart" at the Zingerman's Roadhouse on Jackson more or less killed 2 different coffee shops in that area not long after it opened (which were non-chain brick and mortar stores with local owners...), and their "Weekday Farmer's Market" effectively killed the longtime Coleman's Market on Liberty near Maple during the same period. Zingerman's is neither all-good, nor all-bad, for Ann Arbor's restaurant markets, but it certainly tends towards monopolization and hybridization along the bobo/foodie/Whole Mark-Up model.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

I eat downtown alot, but mainly at the lunch and out of the way places that are several blocks from Zings, because the dirty secret of Zingermans is that their practices have lead to rampant price-inflation in their radius; find me a non-chain place in the Kerrytown area that serves a decent lunch for under 6-7 bucks as many places in greater A2 (Jerusalem Garden, Le dog, and Earthen Jar are just 3, Big Ten Burrito (a local chain) is another) do, and almost all the restaurants do in Ypsi, and you'll probably see that it is either a business not in direct competition with Zingermans, or something under their radar or far enough away not to compete. If a business tried to move in Kerrytown, or around any of the Zing family, and served quality lunch at a reasonable price-point; Zing would either run them down (ala Eve), or under-cut. I think it's bad to see them involved at Mark's Carts so early in the game, and look for high prices, in fact, bet on it. When I saw they had a stake in this, its a foregone conclusion it will be a price-gouge.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

Do you really think it is possible to force employees to pretend to enjoy their work? You really think "Zingerman's....smelled blood in the water?" You think they have a "local monopoly for all things locally sourced and foodie?" Do you ever eat downtown, Goofus? We are so lucky to have the restaurants we do here and in Ypsi! Sounds to me like your bitterness has more to do with you personally than with any particular business.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

I do not understand all the hate here. Yes, Zingerman's is more expensive than many lunch places, and it is also MUCH BETTER than most lunch places. There are plenty of places to go and spend less, so if you don't care about the quality, go to them. All the carping about this local, successful, small business that employs lots of citizens and treats them very well is just getting very tiresome. One of the things that always strikes me when we go in to pick up sandwiches is the incredibly high morale among Zingerman's employees. All you whiners sound like sour grapers to me.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

I guess the addition of The Zingerman's Family will that the prices will shoot up into the ridiculous and unaffordable at Mark's Carts. That is, priced out of reach of normal working folks who just want a good lunch at a good price. Ah well, it was nice idea for the week it lasted.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Hey where are the stories on ALL the OTHER carts - why does the backing of zing get this cart their own story???????????????????????


Fri, May 27, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

re. @Bill: I am not a Zingerman's PR person. I work on sustainability efforts at Zingerman's. What I wrote up there was not very Zingy, and honestly out of line with our approach, but I get frustrated by the lack of basic understanding of the barriers to entrepreneurial, small biz development in this town. The idea that Zing poses a barrier upsets me, so I spoke as a citizen that loves our local culture and wants our businesses be as smart, clever, resilient and resourceful as we are. Zingerman's is a community asset. I'm thrilled to work for them (don't know where else a firebrand like me could find a decent home), just as I'm thrilled to have made my home in Ann Arbor and sign my full name to this and all posts. People who know my name know that what I say, I mean. There's no Zing conspiracy at work; no favors traded even. Just well-earned good will and gratitude.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

@ bill's a vast corporate conspiracy...Zingermans is slowly trying to take over the city.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 5:59 p.m.

Haven't you figured it out yet? Zingerman's has a stake in The best advertising money can buy. And watch out Jean Henry, she is the Zingerman's PR person.

Atticus F.

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

There's something unsettling to me about serving asian food on baked bread, rolls or tortillas. A trend that I have noticed at these carts over the last couple weeks. ...It's the culinary equivalent of having soy sauce and a salt shaker on the table at the same time.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Expand your knowledge. These cuisines use baked goods.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

Bahn mi was recently the sandwich of the month at Zingerman's. As I understand it, it's a Vietnamese sandwich served on a rice baguette. It shouldn't surprise anyone who is as smart as they think they are that a Vietnamese sandwich would be served on a rice baguette do to the French influence on cuisine in that part of the world.

Atticus F.

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

If you noticed, I never said anything in reference to steamed buns. And Mu Shu is considered a pancake, not a tortilla. Dont get me wrong, I have nothing against fusion cooking... When it's done by a trained chef who has an understanding how flavors and textures go together. And yes fjord, there is something unsettling to me about bahn mi as well.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

Or mu shu for that matter. And pork buns are a staple at any dim sum. Perhaps the culinary equivalent of your knowledge base is, perhaps, Rachael Ray?


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

So you've never heard of banh mi?


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

I had the pork buns for lunch yesterday and they were really wonderful! Best of luck.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Caught an interesting show on NPR discussing the backlash regarding Gourmet Carts in California and the fact that now Dominion's Pizza and Taco Hell are getting into the mix; seems that in addition to too many carts saturating the market, food quality and prices are very mixed and so favorite local original food carts are being pushed out. Good luck to the A2 version of Gourmet Carts and 12 dollar hamburgers.

Joe Hood

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

Yum, Zingerman's and Netflix streamed to the home.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

ZOMG, I'm getting fatter just imagining that. But what a great idea!


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

nothing against zingermans but i was hoping this was going to be more of an incubator experiment for restaurant start ups. they did the same thing at the farmers market to spoil that concept too of local farmers selling products. whats next, zingermans taking on my kids school baking sale?


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 12:02 p.m.

Don't like it? Don't buy's that simple.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

I hope Zingerman's takes over your spell and grammar checker.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

Bruno, if you can't afford their food, just don't buy it. Paranoid fantasies are unnecessary. They've got one cart at this place, just like they've got a booth or two (out of dozens) at the Farmer's Market. Your kid's bake sale is safe. This is a private operation, on private property, and he's going to rent to anyone with a cart who meets the basic standards. It'd be crazy for him to say "sorry, Zingerman's, this is only for startups that don't receive funding from existing restaurants." Besides, their food is great.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

LOL. I can actually imagine them monopolizing our children's bake sales: "Our ingredients are fresh and organic, little Johnny's muffins are from a mix." "Don't eat Johnny's muffins, spend 10 dollars on one of ours instead." (Proceeds to benefit Zingerman's , the school).


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 4:28 a.m.

So what did "they" do at the Farmer's Market? By the way, your kid's bake sale needs some serious help!


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 3:50 a.m.

yep local farmer's hate the way Zingerman's buys their produce and meat, uses their milk to make cheese and then sells it at the farmers market, donates to community gardening non-profits, offers their parking lot for an afternoon farmer's market and works to develop the local farm system. It's like a takeover. Giving young employees a chance to start their own business is, well, just an outrage. Don't even get me started about Food Gatherers. Thank goodness not too many other businesses act that way.


Thu, May 19, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Netflix is a lot more affordable

that's a tuffy

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

I am bad,Netflix.

that's a tuffy

Wed, May 18, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

Zingermans and Netflex will take over the world.

Raggety Andy

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

what is netflex?