Archie’s Food Trailer opens in downtown Grayling to provide gourmet comfort food
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A Grayling chef who started selling baked goods at the Grayling Farmers Market and worked summers at the Grayling Country Club has launched a new family venture to bring gourmet comfort food to the community.
The first food trailer to operate under the City of Grayling’s peddler’s ordinance opened for business last week in downtown Grayling.
Archie’s is the food trailer operated by Jon Petrie, who recently completed his culinary arts and business management degrees at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City.
Jon’s parents, Kay and Dave Petrie, are providing the financial backing for the food trailer.
Eventually, the family would like to have more food trailers and a brick and mortar restaurant.
“We could start a business that could turn into something bigger down the road,” Jon said. “Other brick and mortar restaurants is the end goal.”
The name for the business was inspired by Kay’s dad, Joe Ely, who went by the nickname “Archie” and was known for wearing polo style bucket hats.
“He used to wear hats like that all of the time,” Dave said.
Dave retired from working as the service manager at Matt LaFontaine Automotive, formerly Scheer Motors, after 30 years on the job.
“I have more years to work, and this a little more up our alley,” he said.
Son Nick Petrie works for the business along with niece Gabrielle Lutz. Katelyn Moore and Justin Nicholas are also employees. The Petries’ daughter-in-law, Kaylan Petrie, designed the hat logo and graphics for the food trailer.
Archie’s features gourmet sliders, macaroni and cheese, and hand cut French fries.
“It’s comfort food with a twist,” Jon said.
All products featured on the menu are locally sourced. Beefalo and pork come from the Old Hickory Farms, located in Beaver Creek Township and owned by Dr. Thad Jackson and Dr. Lisa Harrington. Produce and meats come from Barefoot Gardens in Roscommon, the Cook Family Farm in Gaylord, Presque Isle Farms in Posen, and Seven Crooked Onions in Onaway.
“We’re just interested in farm to table,” Jon said. “We’re doing everything local and we trying to get all of our products locally.”
Buns for the sliders come from Goodale’s Bakery.
“They make them during the night, and we get them the next morning,” Dave said.
Other vendors include Ebels General Store in Falmouth, and Faygo, which has been manufacturing soft drinks in Detroit since 1907.
The family strives to get its products within a 100-mile radius.
“It keeps the money in the area, but it’s also good for the environment,” Jon said.
Sourcing locally produced food cuts down the shipping and its impact on the environment, and introduces customers to a variety of fresh foods they can buy locally.
“We’re built by the community for the community,” Jon said.
The fresh food also tastes better than products that are trucked in and ripened using chemicals and preservatives.
“Something that’s vine ripened or is produced here in town, picked and served within a day to two, you can’t beat it,” Jon said.
Archie’s strives to use paper and recycled materials, so plastic and waste doesn’t go into landfills.
The food trailer will operate in or near the downtown business district. Under the city’s ordinance, a permit can be obtained to operate in a location from three to seven days. Anything over seven days requires the vendor to be connected to city utilities.
Eventually, Archie’s will be located at the Paddlehard Yard, where a vacant lot is now located at 117 E. Michigan Avenue. A building on the property was demolished earlier this year.
Spearheaded by Paddle Hard Brewing owner Dave Vargo, the property will feature an outdoor beer garden with food trailers.
“It’s going to bring more people downtown due to the uniqueness of the venue,” Vargo said.
The site will feature new electricity, plumbing, and a cement pad with a center trench drain.
“We’re putting quite a bit of money into it,” Vargo said.
A stage will be available for concerts, performances, activities, and events.
The site will feature trailer hook-ups similar to a camp site, so that the food trailers can be on hand from spring through late fall.
“They’ll be hard plumbed, hard wired in – the whole nine yards,” Vargo said.
The beer garden part of the project will be made with a repurposed shipping container, featuring multi-levels and seating areas.
Vargo said he is pleased to have Archie’s as an anchor for the new downtown business venture.
“I’ve worked with them the last couple of days, pitching in and giving them a hand,” Vargo said. “I think they have a great product. The Petrie family has been phenomenal. They’ve absolutely brought a product that’s not in Grayling to the community, so I think it’s going to be stellar.”
The Petries are equally as excited to be part of the renaissance taking place in downtown Grayling.
“It’s going to be a meeting place to be at for nice summer nights,” Dave said.