IU sophomores Misha Rekhter and Max Himelstein are the co-founders of Trap Mike’s, a late-night delivery-only restaurant, opening in Bloomington Feb. 4. Trap Mike’s will offer free delivery from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Rekhter and Himelstein said they noticed the lack of late-night food options in Bloomington despite high demand. They said most of the restaurants open late at night do not offer their own delivery service, forcing customers to pay extra fees to third-party delivery companies such as Doordash and Grubhub.
“I think that's just kind of a pain point in a lot of students’ lives that we can help out with,” Rekhter said.
Freshman Mary Claire Wolk and senior Mark Ferrino said they agreed Bloomington needed more late-night food options.
“I think the late-night delivery-only restaurant is a really good idea because with remote learning, the workload for some students has been a larger amount, and so they are up until late hours of the night,” Wolk said.
Trap Mike’s hours line up for late nights for college students, Ferrino said.“They're willing to drop whatever to just get a slice of pizza when a lot of other really popular spots downtown Bloomington are just not open right now,” said Ferrino.
According to the Trap Mike’s website, the restaurant will operate in a “ghost kitchen,” meaning it will rent a kitchen by the hour instead of leasing a storefront, allowing Trap Mike’s to offer the lowest possible prices for their food this way.
Rekhter and Himelstein worked at a Jersey Mike’s location together throughout high school. They said running their own restaurant is more complicated than it seems. From ordering ingredients to hiring staff and training employees, this is a learning experience for them, Rekhter said.
“It's just been a really interesting experience, especially as someone who's never run a company before,” Rekhter said. “It's been kind of challenging to get our footing as students but also really rewarding and really fun to get more confidence as well.”
According to the menu, Trap Mike’s will serve toasted sandwiches, quesadillas, chicken tender wraps, macaroni and cheese, pancakes and a variety of sides and desserts.
In addition to food, Rekhter and Himelstein created merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies and hats, as well as building a brand through social media accounts, a website and a mobile app.
“We're trying to be a brand for college students with our name and our branding,” said Rekhter. “We're trying to kind of capture that late-night college student vibe in our food, our merchandise, as well as trying to capture that vibe in our logo.”
Trap Mike’s launched a mobile app Saturday that has been downloaded around 300 times so far, according to Rekhter.
“We are open when you're hungry,” said Rekhter “All you got to do is log on, place your order, and you'll get delicious food to your house soon.”