MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Have you ever wanted to try delicious food cultivated from local farms and cooked locally as well? Nina Santucci's dream was to provide this experience, and five years ago she and her husband Anthony Maiale opened The Purple Carrot food truck to do just that.
Santucci was raised in East Lansing, and after attending college in Philadelphia, where she met Maiale, the pair moved back to the Lansing area to start their restaurant business.
"Growing up in Michigan I thought that this might be a, a nice place to be just because we both were so interested in the idea of seasonal cooking, and farm-to-table, and those types of ideas. And Michigan has just such an abundance of great things growing here," said Santucci.
After two years of operating The Purple Carrot, Santucci and Maiale opened Red Haven, a sit-down restaurant located at 4480 Hagadorn Road.
"So Red Haven, the name, comes from the peach red haven which is kind of in-line with the Purple Carrot where we'd like to have a different fruit or vegetable that represents the restaurant or kind of food concept," Santucci explains.
Red Haven also serves food that is cultivated locally, and the menus at both restaurants change from week to week to reflect what is available. The theme at Red Haven is "small plate," in which a party chooses a variety of items to be shared between them, similar to a tasting menu.
"We offer a lot of local meats that make our sandwiches and then we also do quite a lot of vegetarian and vegan fare as well. So, we try to have something that appeals to everyone and keep the menu fun and interesting," says Santucci.
Santucci is very appreciative of both her staff and her customers, and hopes to continue to expand in the restaurant business.