The Short Course
To avoid wait: Lines at all carts move fairly quickly.
Noise level: Moderate.
Bathroom amenities: Facilities are available at the adjacent Bill’s Beer Garden.
High chairs? No, but there is room to park strollers.
Got milk? Depends on the food truck. We saw smoothies, pop and water.
Kids’ menu? It’s vendor-specific, but there are lots of foods kids will try.
Anything healthy for kids? Hut-K offers vegetarian dishes. Steamed momos at Everest Momo might be another option.
Food allergy concerns? Check with individual food carts before ordering.
“I want Chinese,” stated my daughter, 10.
“Well, I want Mexican,” declared my son, 13.
“I don’t know what I want,” said my husband.
What do you do when everyone in your family wants something different for dinner? Take them to Mark’s Carts! Located downtown in a small urban garden off Washington Street, adjacent to Bill’s Beer Garden, Mark’s Carts offers seven food trucks with various dishes to satisfy any craving.
The 2017 season, which runs through October, features the following food carts: Everest Momo, a Nepali and Tibetan Kitchen; Pita Cruiser, offering Mediterranean street food; Hut-K Nutrilicious, focusing on Indian street food; El Manantial, serving Mexican street food; Simply Spanish, offering paella and tapas; Great Grilled Sandwiches with grilled sandwiches from around the world; and Wood Fired Up with gourmet wood-fired pizzas.
Around the courtyard
Wood Fired Up and Everest Momo are new to Mark’s Carts this year, so we headed to them first. At Wood Fired Up, I met owner-operator Brad Lydick, who relocated his family from Harbor Springs to Ann Arbor to be part of Mark’s Carts.
“We love the community,” he told me. “Absolutely love it.”
From his food truck, I selected the Margherita pizza ($10) with fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes and basil. My husband chose the special, a BBQ pizza with pulled pork, homemade barbecue sauce, and spicy coleslaw laced with jalapeños ($12). Lydick placed the pies in the wood-fired oven where they took less than two minutes to cook.
My Margherita was yummy; the dough was light and perfectly charred, the ingredients, fresh and bright. My husband’s pizza had a nice balance of sweet and tangy. He liked the smoky pulled pork.
From Everest Momo my daughter ordered momos or Nepali steamed dumplings. Traditionally filled with yak meat in Tibet, the dumplings from Everest Momo come in chicken or vegetable varieties mixed with onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro and spices.
The plump, delicious dumplings tasted amazing dipped in Achaar sauce, a combination of fresh tomato, sesame seeds and herbs. My poor daughter shared so many of her 10 pieces that we got another order.
Step right up
My son stepped up to El Manantial, where he considered the tacos, tortas and burritos before settling on the pork tamales, a dish he’d never tried before. He found the masa soft and the pork gently spicy.
“I’ve never had tamales before,” he commented, “and they were a pleasant surprise.”
For a sweet ending, my daughter sipped a smooth mango lassi ($4), a yogurt-based drink, from Hut-K. We also tried churros with chocolate sauce ($8.50) from Simply Spanish. The combination of fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar dipped in gooey chocolate was divine.
Seating at Mark’s Carts is communal among large, shaded picnic tables. Each cart operates its own hours, usually several around lunchtime and more during dinnertime. Since the season runs until October, my family will have plenty of opportunity to return and try something from the carts we missed. Maybe a gyro or shawarma from Pita Cruiser or a grilled chicken basil mozzarella sandwich from Great Grilled Sandwiches will satisfy our cravings next.
211 W. Washington St | Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (231) 645-ROLL
Hours: Vary by food truck, usually three hours around
lunchtime, four around dinner, weather permitting