Places to enjoy around town while staying socially distant

Graphic of food truck and lighthouse

Sam Rush/NW

Peter Smedley

Experiences in Marquette have been altered drastically over the summer and students may be unsure as to what is still available, or looking for a more comprehensive idea of which businesses are taking the pandemic seriously. There are still many options in Marquette that exist which allow students to have an enjoyable experience while practicing safety.

The community of Marquette is fortunate to have multiple food truck options that offer delicious choices without ever needing to enter a building. Many have offered high regards for the mobile restaurant scene, and the Burger Bus is often mentioned as a favorite. Alyana Prahl, owner of the Burger Bus, shared a bit of their menu and how operations have been since COVID-19.

“We are already a small outside venue with a very limited staff. All three qualities make us very sustainable in this type of environment. Less staff coming in contact with your experience, less surface space to keep clean, no dining area to fill or keep clean,” Prahl said. “Any restaurant can adjust operations and be successful, but there is always a learning curve that comes with changing procedure. We are fortunate to have already been doing operations this way all along.”

The Burger Bus offers contactless ordering, hungry people can go to https://www.toasttab.com/theburgerbus/v3 and order directly from their website and receive a text when their order is ready, according to Prahl. The Burger Bus also offers a menu that caters to many different tastes.

“Every menu item is gluten-free if you add a gluten-free bun or no bun. Our falafel burger is bus made. It is vegetarian and vegan,” Prahl said.

The Burger Bus is always on the move, setting up shop in front of the breweries of Marquette. 

The Burger Bus is open on Thursdays located near the Ore Dock Brewing Company from 5-8 p.m. and located at Blackrocks Brewery on Fridays and weekends. Friday hours are 2-8 p.m. Saturday hours are 4-8 p.m. and Sundays are 4-7 p.m.

A new food truck has recently entered the scene and offers a more aquatic menu. Fish Express can be found on Third Street at the former Valle’s Supermarket store parking lot until Oct. 31. They are also open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Kevin Bray, chef, partner and owner of Fish Express shared how they are keeping the establishment safe for the community.

“I have health questionnaires once a week filled out by employees, and if they feel or show symptoms they are required to quarantine themselves before returning to work. My employees taking orders wear face masks and use sanitizer in-between customer transactions,” Bray said.

Fish Express also offers outdoor seating and the grocery store where the food truck resides next to will soon be converted into the Third Street Marketplace. The building is owned by Bray’s business partner, and multiple shops will operate inside, including the Cognition Brewery, according to Bray.

If fish and food aren’t your forte, Marquette still offers beautiful areas that are free of charge to visit. The Noquemanon Trail Network, and the North Country Trail Network are still available to be traversed. Articles on the trail networks can be found at: https://www.thenorthwindonline.com/NMUTimeCapsule/entertainment/

Students can also take a tour of the Marquette Maritime Museum and lighthouse. Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and are limited to a capacity of 10 people, no exceptions. Hilary Billman, director of the Marquette Maritime Museum, spoke about the changes to ensure safety for students and community members.

“Everybody has to wear a mask and we have masks for sale. We clean a lot more than we normally clean, every half-hour to hour. There aren’t as many touch points this year as there normally would be. We had a kids’ station with all kinds of activities that we aren’t doing this year,” said Billman.

Tours cost $6 per student, and $10 total if a student were to attend both the lighthouse tour and museum tour on the same day. They have also offered special student day discounts in the past, and would consider it again if students showed enough interest, according to Billman. While the number of tours has been cut down to two a day, Billman also shared some exciting tours that she believes would pique student interest.

“We’re also doing paranormal tours at the lighthouse. It’s $20 a ticket. We also do a special $50 dollar ticket with Yooper paranormal where you can do an actual paranormal investigation in the lighthouse. If anyone wants to book a private paranormal tour that’s available too.”

Last year, the Museum held a special tour around Halloween that featured many ghosts that still haunt the museum and lighthouse today. The tour was akin to an educational haunted house, but Billman is unsure if they will be able to do it again this year.

“I hope we can do it and if anyone has any ideas I’d be happy to listen to them,” Billman said. “Were always looking for volunteers too. If anybody wants to be a volunteer tour guide or volunteer in the museum they can stop in the museum and pick up an application or call and email. Our information is on https://mqtmaritimemuseum.com/.”