Ferndale’s New Fleat
As of July 7, following food trucks in Metro Detroit is now easier than ever. While fans often turn to social media sites in search of their favorite truck’s location, locals can find not just one, but four trucks permanently parked in Ferndale.
Aptly named the Detroit Fleat Food Truck Park and Boozery, this spot is quickly becoming a favorite local hangout. The Pita Post, Delectabowl and the Mac Shack are the mainstay trucks, with a rotating truck joining the group Thursday through Saturday. Throughout the rest of the week, Drifter Coffee holds the fourth slot.
Food truck parks are rising in popularity in major cities like Austin, Portland and Los Angeles. Even Traverse City has its own, called the Little Fleet.
Entrepreneurs Katie Picard and Aaron Tye, known for their successful Delectabowl food truck, felt the Metro Detroit area was lacking a food truck park. After visiting several around the U.S., they felt ready to start their own.
Tye happened to stumble upon Detroit Fleat’s current headquarters, formerly known as the Wing Hing Inn on 9 Mile. He and Picard purchased the site and completely revamped the space.
The outside area is filled with sturdy picnic tables and colorful umbrellas, creating an ideal setting for big groups and even four-legged companions.
Inside, visitors will find a warm and inviting atmosphere. A bright neon painting displaying the Faygo logo frames the back wall, creating a local, fun vibe.
On busier nights, diners can put their name down for a table inside while others prefer relaxing at the spacious bar. Beverages are aplenty at Detroit Fleat, with 16 beer taps, wine pours, cool cocktails and spiked slushies, known as slooshies.
The patio area offers first-come seating at various communal tables. Visitors eager to sample food truck fare order dishes from their truck of choice, paying them individually. Food truck samplers are still greeted by servers for beverage orders.
“The concept is new and different — everyone comes in excited to learn what it is,” Picard says.
As people become accustomed to the flow at Detroit Fleat, they’ll notice that each truck has its own specialty. The Pita Post is known for homemade pita bread, shawarma and falafel while the Mac Shack dishes up wild varieties of everyone’s childhood favorite. The Delectabowl truck, founded by Picard and Tye, features comfort food bowls layered with rice or cornbread, freshly grilled and smoked meats, veggies and cheese.
During the week of July 11, the guest star was the Hero or Villain truck, known for dishing up gourmet deli sandwiches. The notorious blue vehicle with a comic strip feel is often spotted at Eastern Market, Campus Martius and the Royal Oak Food Truck Rally.
While frequenters can easily catch the fourth food truck, foodies are also getting a kick out of the Detroit Fleat in-house menu. Both Picard and Executive Chef Brian Brickner collaborated on dishes that mimic street-food fare, featuring primarily tacos and sliders.
“I definitely wanted it to be food truck food-inspired,” Picard says. “The response is something we did not expect — it has been unbelievable,” she adds, referring to the positive feedback received from diners.
While the food trucks will likely stay put until November, the dynamic Detroit Fleat menu will always be available. Picard and Brickner foresee the menu changing with the seasons, so new offerings will be plentiful.
As a brand-new locale, there are bound to be uncertainties, but Tye and Picard aren’t afraid to take risks and make changes.
“In the winter, if we see a major need for food trucks and people want them, we’ll make it work,” Picard says with assurance.
So far, Detroit Fleat is having no trouble keeping their trucks’ engines running and the crowds bumping. Chances are, this one-of-a-kind spot is bound to stay hot all year long.
Detroit Fleat Food
Truck Park & Boozery
1820 E. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale
Tuesday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-midnight
Happy Hour: Tuesday-Friday 3-6 p.m.