People’s Kitchen will open a new food truck in the Lansing area


LANSING — Three years after People’s Kitchen, a creative brunch and dinner spot, opened its physical location off East Michigan Avenue, the restaurant is gearing up to hit the road with its own food truck.

Plans for a food truck have been in the works for some time, said general manager Douglas Mulkey.

Then the opportunity to buy a food truck he was already very familiar with – which operated as The Purple Carrot from 2011 to 2019 – presented itself.

People’s Kitchen at 2722 E. Michigan Ave. last week purchased the remodeled 1980s pickup truck from Tony Maiale and Nina Santucci. The sale came about a month after the couple announced plans to close their Okemos Red Haven restaurant and reopen it this fall under a new business model.

Mulkey said the exterior appearance of the truck will be rebranded in the coming weeks. The People’s Kitchen Street Eats should be operational by the end of August, he said.

“We’re looking to maintain the commitment to scratch cooking, high-quality ingredients and the best, most delicious food you’ll ever have,” Mulkey said, but the truck will feature a new menu.

Renaming a familiar truck

People’s Kitchen Street Eats will be used for catering at events and private parties, but the truck will also set up shop at three or four regular Lansing-area locations, Mulkey said.

The truck’s current purple, white and green exterior will get a new look.

The logo of the former food truck The Purple Carrot.  The truck will become The People's Kitchen Street Eats.

“We’re actually looking at reaching out to local artists to possibly repaint the truck in a mural style, maybe,” Mulkey said. “We try to keep things as local as possible.”

The interior contains everything People’s Kitchen staff need to serve unique lunch options, he said.

Mulkey should know. He worked as a bartender in Red Haven and spent a few summers working on The Purple Carrot from 2014 to 2016.

The Purple Carrot hasn’t run since before the pandemic, Santucci said, and knowing the truck will get a new life is exciting.

Mulkey is a friend, she says, and she supports what People’s Kitchen has accomplished since it opened.

“I think People’s Kitchen, in many ways, is very similar to the values ​​of Red Haven, and having the truck stay in that area is cool and exciting,” Santucci said.


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A new card

People’s Kitchen Street Eats will offer a separate menu from the restaurant, Mulkey said, but expect similarities.

“We’ll maintain the same level of quality ingredients, but you’ll find anything from the best chicken sandwich you’ve ever had to…we have these fantastic pancakes on our brunch menu,” he said. . “You might see a twist on the donuts served from the truck.”

The former The Purple Carrot food truck will become The People's Kitchen Street Eats vehicle, pictured Monday, July 18, 2022, at the People's Kitchen in Lansing.

The truck’s menu, which is still being worked on, will have the same “vibe” as People’s Kitchen, Mulkey said, but it will be unique.

“We’ve been thinking about it for some time,” he said.

The Lansing community supported the truck. Management said they would come up with a message on the restaurant’s Facebook page earlier this month.

The response has been encouraging, Mulkey said.

“It’s been incredibly positive,” he said. “There’s been an outpouring of not just support, but also excitement and interest in where we’re going to be and what we’re going to serve. I’ve even asked people to book events before.”

The truck will operate seasonally, Mulkey said. Information about times and locations will be posted on the The People’s Kitchenn Facebook page, he says.

Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.


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