Eat the Hub
The Beet Box, which sells vegetarian-friendly fast food, grew out of a U-M sustainability class. Through the same class, Perlman met a broker who's a member of the South University Area Association. When Perlman wanted a space closer to campus for the Beet Box and Cheese Dream, a grilled cheese food truck he also co-owns, the broker introduced him to the owner of the vacant lot at 1215 South University, next door to University Towers. The house that originally stood there, still remembered by many as the former home of Pinball Pete's video arcade, burned down in 2009. Now the Beet Box and Cheese Dream carts are parked there on a layer of fresh gravel, and Perlman hopes to attract as many as four more.
The goal of Eat the Hub, he says, is high-quality food and fast service. "Not many other types of food establishments can do slow food so fast," Perlman says of the carts. "We're going to be pushing off food in to-go containers so people can take it into group meetings, into class, as well as take it home."
To persuade customers to brave the elements, he'll be providing heaters, free coffee, and music. When Eat the Hub closes at the end of the school year in May, Perlman will hit the road, touring Michigan in a renovated school bus that doubles as a kitchen. He'll be back in the fall to enter a master's program in entrepreneurship offered jointly through the Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering.
He doesn't know if his culinary career will extend beyond that, but he hopes to set a precedent for future food-cart installations in Ann Arbor.