TRAVERSE CITY — A normal summer in downtown Traverse City features busy restaurants and food trucks.
Grand Traverse Pie Company owner Mike Busley said they recently brought their food truck Genevieve II to the east side to avoid the bustling city center.
“Genevieve is my grandma’s name,” Busley said. “She was the pie maker of the family.”
The truck was initially built for use last summer during the National Cherry Festival. Busley said they took it to the kids’ pie making event, which made their baking supplies more mobile.
He said he hopes to continue that concept this summer at the new location near Einstein Cycles at the corner of 4 Mile Road and U.S. 31 North.
“We can take our brand, our essence, our energy to places we couldn’t before,” he said. “We feel good about being next to Einsteins.”
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic is a good time to get into the food truck scene, as many people prefer takeout or modified dining options. Some picnic tables are set up so people can enjoy their pie outside.
Pie isn’t the only thing on the menu, though. Busley said they plan to do a “best of” the pie company, which means grilled and cold sandwiches, the cherry chicken and chicken fiesta salads and chicken pot pie.
“It’s a mini version of what we have at the pie shop,” Busley said. “We’ll have half a dozen or so items for lunch or dinner.”
Cuppa Joe plans to move into the former Breakaway Cafe and Coffee Bar building soon. Busley said they are not serving breakfast so they don’t compete with the coffee shop in the mornings.
One high-demand food returns to the menu at the food truck.
“We’ll be serving pie smoothies, which we haven’t served in a long time,” said Grand Traverse Pie Company General Manager Lucy Adams. “It’s something refreshing, something comfortable.”
Customers can get this with a half slice of apple, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb or the lakeshore berry (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and apple) pie. Adams said they add ice cream to make it a shake.
Adams, who has been with the company 12 years, shifts gears slightly to manage the food truck.
“It’s exciting to have another Grand Traverse Pie Company restaurant food truck in our city,” she said. “People are going to welcome the easy access to it. I think people will enjoy the different type of atmosphere it will bring.”
Busley agreed, adding that Einstein Cycles is close to a TART Trails route and many hotels.
“With that center there’s going to be a lot more energy there,” he said. “It’s going to be a good combination. It all kind of fits for that end of town.”
The food truck Genevieve II is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through October. Busley said they may expand those hours and plan to bring it back next year if all goes well.
This is the company’s second food truck. A store franchisee operates another one near Grand Haven and Norton Shores in West Michigan.
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