More money down south
DON’T COUNT ON any taco trucks setting up shop on the streets of Marquette this summer.
Senor’s Food Truck will be down in the metro Detroit area for the next several months after having spent the last few summers around Marquette.
The reason for the change is simple.
“Business is more lucrative down there in the wintertime,” says owner Rick Rhoades Sr., “and with the cancellation of all the events in the U.P. this summer, it just makes more sense to stay down there all year. Festivals up here have been my bread and butter in the summer.”
Rhoades has family and homes in both the UP and metro Detroit.
Could he return here in future summers if we return to normal? Absolutely, he says, but he says he’s building a following down there of folks who love the little red taco truck.
Ya wanna come back? Uhh, no
SO WHAT ABOUT the much beloved little blue taco truck? Dia de los Tacos.
Owner Mike Walker retired the truck last year, saying he’d grown weary of the lifestyle–especially in the winter–and now he’s selling books at Snowbound Books. A normal life with plenty of indoor heat in the winter.
But with Señor’s leaving Marquette, maybe Walker is tempted to get back in the taco business???
“Not even close,” he tells you with a laugh.
He loves his job and the people he deals with.
And the little blue truck? It’s still for sale. He had a couple of interested parties ready to buy it a few months back but those deals fell through with the onset of the pandemic and the economic shutdown.
Beachside pizza? You betcha
SPEAKING OF FOOD trucks.
Not everybody is throwing in the towel.
G’s Pizzeria–more of a trailer–just opened up shop for the first time in front of Fred’s Rubber Stamp and Lakeshore Bikes on Lakeshore Boulevard, across from the bike path and the beach.
“I had been looking all around town for a place but I always figured this would be the perfect spot,” says Taylor Engebretson, who’s operating what’s virtually a one-woman operation.
Pizzas, grinders, and salads.
G’s Pizzeria has been around since 1983 as a family business with several other brick-and-mortar restaurants throughout Michigan, but this is the only trailer.
Engerbretson’s part of the family. She’s also a student at NMU. And come fall, she’ll resume her studies, and G’s will close up shop here in Marquette. Until then, she’s hoping to attract the beach and bike crowd.
Fresh air and ribs
AS FOR THE regular dine-in restaurants, they’re re-opening at a slower pace than some of us might have expected.
The reason? Making sure that the restaurants and staffs are ready for the mandated safety guidelines. That takes time.
One that wasted no time in reopening was Lake Superior Smokehouse Brewpub in Harvey. They opened their doors to outdoor dining on Friday.
“It’s been a little bit slower than we might like,” saying owner Scotty Arbour, “but we’re seeing a lot of familiar faces. People are starting to come back.”
The Smokehouse continued with takeout throughout the economic shutdown but, like so many other businesses, took a serious hit. Now, Arbour hopes, they’re back to normal where diners will get their food fresh out of the kitchen.
Meantime, the Smokehouse is doing its part to help those who Arbour considers the real heroes in the ordeal over the last few months. The restaurant is sending 70 barbecue meals to the employees at Norlite Nursing Center on Wednesday.
A deeper, more serious look at the UP
FORMER NMU PRESIDENT David Haynes hasn’t exactly retired.
He still teaches a few classes at NMU and he’s just launched a new online publication, Rural Insights.
News, research and opinion about rural America, with the focus, at least at this point, on the Upper Peninsula. Serious stuff for readers who are looking for more than headlines.
But it’s also readable, not overly dense and scholarly. So far, it’s been well-received, not only here in the UP but across the nation.
“We’ve got some great momentum here,” says Haynes. “We’ll be continuing to add more articles, more UP voices, and more types of content, like podcasts and video.”
No, he’s not quite ready for full-time retirement yet.