TRAVERSE CITY, MI - City officials will soon decide where and at what cost food trucks can operate in Traverse City, but one new downtown business is already opening its doors – and parking lot – to local transient food vendors.
Gary and Allison Jonas, owners of Brooklyn hot spots Sycamore and The Farm on Adderly, recently relocated to Traverse City with a dream of contributing to the area’s rapidly growing foodie scene. University of Michigan graduates, the couple was inspired by their travels to food truck-friendly cities like Portland and Austin, and believe a street food model could work well in Traverse City.
This spring, the Jonases will open a full-service bar at 448 East Front Street, formerly home to Jack’s Market. Rather than building a traditional bar kitchen, the couple plans to open their parking lot on a year-round basis to up to five stationary and rotating food trucks, who will serve up their wares to hungry patrons.
Customers can bring meals inside and enjoy them over a cocktail or beer, or simply sidle up to the bar for a beverage. During the winter, heating lamps and food runners will help the trucks stay operational even during cold weather – traditionally a challenging season for transient vendors. Electricity, sewage, trash and other services will be provided to allow stationary trucks to establish permanent roots on-site.
“We love the food truck culture, and we also love our neighboring restaurants downtown,” says Allison, noting that customers will also be able to bring in food from other nearby eateries, such as Bubba’s and Paesano’s Pizza. “It was important to us to support both with our business. We also appreciated Jack’s when it was open, so we’ve adopted part of their model and will be offering variety six-packs of beer to go.”
Gary says the bar, which will be open from lunch to midnight, is designed to to be welcoming to a diverse range of patrons. “At Sycamore in New York, we’d see families and older patrons come early in the day. Then maybe late at night, there would be a younger crowd out for drinks with friends. We want that here in TC – for everyone to feel included. You’ll see that reflected in our drinks; you can come have a cheap beer, or you can order a well-made cocktail.”
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