Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

June 2, 2013

Downtown readies for summer

Downtown Traverse City will see new food trucks, festivals, pubs and storefronts this summer along with the over 200 seasoned shops, eateries and events that call the district home.

Gary and Allison Jonas are joining the downtown line up with their new business, The Little Fleet, located at the former Jack’s Market at the corner of 448 East Front and Wellington streets. A full service bar, the Little Fleet is introducing year-round food trucks to the region.

“We wanted to create a fun, community space,” Gary Jonas said, noting the bar will have airy indoor and outdoor seating space for dining, but patrons are also able take food to go or eat in the lot. “It lends itself to a very casual atmosphere."

At least four permanent and two more rotating food trucks will be on site at any given day. The line-up includes the E-Z Cheesy, also owned by the Jonases and run by Kim Ryan, featuring upscale grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as Anchor Station, led by Michael Peterson, owner of Lulu’s and Siren Hall in Antrim County, which began serving during Memorial Day Weekend. Others on deck this summer are Roaming Harvest’s Little Yella, Dan Marsh of Red Ginger’s Dragon Wagon, and Charlevoix chef Adam Kline’s Pigs Eatin’ Ribs.

“It creates a cool, fun vibe. We have seen this work in other cities we love, and it can work here,” Jonas said. “It is filling a niche in Traverse City.”

“This is a great use for the old Jack’s Market parking lot,” said Downtown Development Authority Deputy Director Rob Bacigalupi. “We were encouraging private food market locations and are interested in what this does for the East Front area.”

City Clerk Benjamin Marentette has issued five permits for food trucks in the city and said he’s gearing up for quite a few more applications in the next week or two.

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