Mark’s Carts, a food cart courtyard located on Washington Street on April 14, will welcome a new food cart called Simply Spanish.

The new food cart will join three other carts, which serve Mexican, Indian and Asian street food, and will specialize in serving a variety of traditional, authentic tapas.

Xavi Vitta, the owner and vendor of the new cart, is originally from Spain. After arriving in the United States in June, Vitta recognized that authentic Spanish cuisine tended to be served in more formal restaurant settings. He wanted to share his Spanish culture with Ann Arbor residents in a more accessible venue, one that reminded him of home.

“Authentic Spanish food is simple; the concept of a cart is also simple and the cost is lower,” Vitta said. “My goal is to share Spanish culture based on food.”

Tapas are small Spanish appetizers, oftentimes paired with beer or wine. Since January, the Simply Spanish Facebook page has been posting updates as well as photos and descriptions of potential menu items and traditional Spanish dishes. Vitta said the menu items are based on dishes he grew up with as a child.

He plans to include 10 to 12 varieties of tapas on the cart’s menu. In addition he plans to offer paella — a traditional rice dish from Valencia — pinchos — small sandwiches — and two to three desserts. He will introduce specials as the season progresses.

“The selection I will offer we ate at home or in the tascas of Spain,” Vitta wrote in an e-mail. “The cart is designed around the menu.”

Vitta decided to pair tapas with a food cart concept not only to create a more comfortable atmosphere, but also to foster social interaction between customers. Traditionally, tapas are shared among a group of people often seated at bars, and constitute a more social style of eating.

“Tapas are at the very heart of Spanish lifestyle and culture,” Vitta said. “Tapas mean sociability, friends and family.”

After the new business is up and running, Vitta hopes to expand his reach to eventually serve the wider Ann Arbor community.

However, the food cart may face competition in its vicinity. Aventura, a more formal Spanish restaurant also specializing in tapas, is located at 216 E. Washington Street. Sava Lelcaj, owner of Sava’s and of Babo Market, both located near campus, opened the restaurant in November.

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