Behind Downtown Home and Garden, Mark Hodesh’s Mark’s Carts and its sidekick Bill’s Beer Garden opened, in theory anyway, on April 4, a Friday when the temperature hardly broke the forties and rain lashed down during the dinner hour.

Most of the carts opted to forego the technical opening day, but Xavi Vitta was there, ebullient, talkative, showing off not only what he was currently offering but dragging out photos of what he hopes to be selling if all goes well with Simply Spanish. Excited as he was, he modestly emphasized that the food speaks for itself: “It’s just the normal, traditional tapas that I know.” Newly arrived in Ann Arbor from Valencia (“Valenthia” as he pronounces it, with a buzzing Castilian lisp), Vitta comes from a family in the food business, and his marriage brought him over here. (The identity of his wife and his family restaurant in Valencia is a subject upon which the otherwise voluble Vitta prefers to keep a secret for the time being: “I want to do this myself.”) He’s starting simple–but “with the best of the best,” Iberico ham, “which I believe is the best ham in the world–most of what is around here is fake,” he says. Calamari from “Andaluthia,” marinated mussels, Marcona almonds, olives, and “of course, bread.” He’ll always have veggie paella, and on the weekends, seafood paella and its relative, fideua.

Also new at Mark’s: “Look for the short Asian guy!” says Sean Zhang, at Xdelica. Zhang describes his and wife Leann’s dumplings as the very best, most traditional fried dumplings you’ll get anywhere in Ann Arbor, but also says they’ve invented a variety of fusion dumplings with fillings like cheese.

Great Grilled Sandwiches claims to grill in TexMex, Asian, and American flavors. Old Carolina Barbecue, newly opened in Cranbrook (see below), will have a cart. It replaces Satchel’s BBQ–Old Carolina was happy for the opportunity to raise brand awareness, and Satchel’s found the logistics of operating a cart on the other side of town was not worth it, says Hodesh. Mighty Good Coffee is plenty well known downtown, but for the first time, it will have a cart. Returning are San Street, El Manantial, and Hut K.

Hodesh is a little in awe of what he has wrought since starting his outside food court three years ago, pointing out that many cart owners are immigrants. “This is not a lark,” he says. “Customers appreciate how courageous the cart owners are, taking on a new language, culture, and country by selling food from an eight-by-ten-foot cart.”

Mark’s Carts, E. Washington between First and Ashley, see for details on individual carts.