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The Little Fleet

June 11, 2022

  • 448 E. Front Street
  • Traverse City, MI 49686
  • (231) 943-1116
  • Website
  • Menu

We did it.

L and I managed a figure skating competition without J.

Our planned family mini-vacation didn’t happen. J came down with COVID. The rest of us somehow avoided it. The kids had just gotten their booster shots and I was in Mackinac Island all week for work.

Figure skating competitions are hard for dads. There’s hair. There’s makeup. There’s dresses. I managed it all somehow. I got L’s hair in to a pretty tight bun and the two of us did the best we could with the makeup. We had a dress mishap and some blood on the tights when L somehow cut herself with her toe pick but we managed. Overall, it was a really successful day. L walked away with two first place medals and had a lot of fun with her teammates and coaches.

L was the last skater for a while for her coach so the coaches asked the group if we all wanted to go to dinner together. They usually try to make reservations but the suggested restaurant from the parents group wasn’t open for dine-in.

J has a friend in Traverse City and she suggested a food truck park downtown. We figured there would be something that everyone would eat and we wouldn’t have to worry about getting a big enough table.

The Little Fleet is pretty awesome. It’s a food truck park on the corner of Front Street and Wellington on the east side of Traverse City’s downtown. The lot has four food trucks and a permanent building with a bar and a taco stand. The park has been open for almost ten years now taking over what used to be a liquor store parking lot.

It’s so hard to believe that something like this hasn’t popped up at every tourist town the state. The four food trucks line the outside of the space while tables and tents fill in the rest of this former parking lot.

There really is something for everyone. There’s a BBQ truck, a burger truck, a pizza truck, an Asian truck, and a taco bar. Picking just one is really the hardest part.

We headed in to the building where the rest of L’s teammates were sitting. She sat a table with one of her friends while I headed out to get food for the both of us.

L saw one of her friends eating mac and cheese so she asked me to find that for her.

I found that at Cordwood BBQ.

I could have eaten damn near everything Cordwood BBQ had to offer but I decided to skip on the BBQ this time. I really didn’t want to but there were so many other options.

I got L the Mac N Cheese. L is kind of a picky mac and cheese eater but she was with friends and when she’s with friends, she’ll eat about anything (she ate fried tofu at the last competition which was…surprising to say the least.). The Mac ‘n Cheese from Cordwood a thick, creamy cheese sauce coating the large macaroni noodles. L loved it. She ate the whole bowl up pretty quickly and I was a little shocked she didn’t come ask for another one.

I was kind of in the mood for a burger so after I got L settled, I walked over to Glendale Avenue. Their specialty is Smash Burgers. I got a creation called The Texan.

This burger is a beef patty topped with American cheese, dill pickle potato chips, a tangy BBQ and pickled red onions on a Brioche bun. I asked to leave the onions off and what I was left with was pretty dang interesting. The burger was a perfect smash patty with those crispy pieces around the outside. The BBQ sauce was a little more on the ketchup-y side than what I typically like but the dominant flavor here was obviously the chips. They added a salty crunch to every bite. It’s kind of a gimmick but it’s a gimmick that works.

There are two options for fries and I think I would have loved either of them. I ordered the Fire Fry. The beer battered fries are topped with honey mustard sauce, jalapenos, and green onions. There was quite a bit of the honey mustard sauce and if they’d added some hot sauce to that honey mustard sauce, these really would have been fire fries. They were delicious as they were but the only heat came from the jalapenos so you’d have to take a bit of a jalapeno with the fry to get any heat.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m not a social person. I like all of the families L competes with but there wasn’t an obvious opening for me at any of the tables so I found a pub table adjacent to them. It was right near the huge bar in the building portion of the space….so of course, I had to go grab a beer.

They have a pretty good taplist and they have a great cocktail list if that’s your thing. I ordered a Party Wolf IPA from Greenbush Brewing. It was the IPA on the list that I hadn’t had before and there was nothing so local that I couldn’t get it anywhere else. Of course, as I’m grabbing the beer, I see the coaches getting all the girls for the after competition team picture, so I quickly grabbed my beer and darted over to where they would so I could get the picture for J.

The total meal was about $35 and L didn’t really eat a whole lot. It’s not a cheap meal (I mean, really, what food trucks are?) but the atmosphere and the experience are amazing.

I really don’t know how other places haven’t copied this idea. I know South Haven has talked about it. It’s such a good idea. It’s such a unique dining experience too. The trucks parked at Little Fleet really don’t move around so it really is kind of like a brick and mortar operation…but everything’s outdoors in a very communal atmosphere.

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