Friday, August 10, 2012

Snapshots from Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor

I am a fan of the food truck movement and am glad we have some semblance of a food truck scene in Ann Arbor with Mark’s Carts. Somewhat controversial, food trucks give aspiring chefs - who otherwise could not afford to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant - the chance to show off their craft. It increases food diversity in the area and more often than not, will lead to new businesses from the successful trucks opening up permanent locations.

(Minor rant – can we have food trucks that actually, you know, drive around to different spots? Right now Mark’s Carts has a monopoly on the food truck scene as it is the only spot where food trucks are allowed, and the same eight vendors are always there. Communities need to embrace the food truck trend by passing ordinances that allow for food trucks to roll freely through city streets. I don’t find the argument that food trucks take away business from brick-and-mortar establishments to be compelling – if increased competition is negatively impacting your business, you must not be doing something right.)

The vendors at Mark’s Carts are doing their thing and cranking out some good street eats, so I will keep my grumblings to a minimum. On with the show.

I started with a fish taco from Darcy's Cart - lightly pan-fried Lake Huron whitefish topped with red cabbage, cilantro and a chipotle crema on a flour tortilla. I generally prefer my tacos to be a corn tortilla that has spent a few seconds on a hot griddle, but the rest of the components here were on point. I had their carnitas taco on a previous visit, which was a hit as well. Are these tacos better than those you can get at the Mexican taquerias in town - TMAZ, Taco King, and Taqueria La Fiesta? That debate will have to wait for another day.

Perhaps the star of the show tonight was the Lucky Pork bun from San Street Food - unbelievably tender pork belly with pickled veggies topped with a sweet hoisin sauce all wrapped in San Street's handmade(!) buns. We doubled down on the pork belly with my cousin ordering up a banh mi, which is served on a French loaf from Zingerman's Bakehouse.

San Street hosted a pop-up event at The Bar at Braun Court - get in before it blows up - on Tuesday night and it sounds like that will be a recurring event. 

Mrs. T's mom was in town and she and Mrs. T split a margherita pizza from A2 Pizza Pi's mobile wood-burning oven.

The dough seemed to be made with wheat flour. You can see the nicely charred bits on the outer edge of the crust. The bottom of the crust didn't get quite as crispy as I was hoping but the fresh mozz, basil, and tomatoes made this a fine take on the classic margherita.

I haven't made it to all of the places at Mark's Carts yet, but that's only a matter of time. 

Mark's Carts
211 W. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI

Check out or other trip to Mark's Carts: Hut-K Chaats Tastes too Good to be Healthy


  1. Is there a place their hours are posted? The website doesn't have it and they seem to be closed on Sundays.

    1. It looks like it's a little hit or miss, some of them do have their hours posted on their websites, Darcy's Cart lists their hours from 9am-7pm. I think most of them are there more or less all day Monday-Saturday. Even though they say they close at 7pm, I've been there after 7pm and most of them are still open, they start closing up shop around 7:30 or so on a nice night I think.

    2. Hello! We are so happy you enjoyed our buns!

      San Street hours are:

      At Mark's Carts, Mon-Fri 11:30am-7:30pm, Sat 11:30am-3:30pm, Sun 12pm-3:30pm.
      At the Bar at 327 Braun Ct, Tue 5:30pm-1:30am
      We also go to Wednesday Kerrytown Evening Market 4:30pm-8:30pm and Thursday Westside Farmer's Market 3pm-7pm in Ann Arbor.

      Come and see us!