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Northern Michigan in Focus: Ebbys Food Truck

*This article was previously published in July 2018 and re-aired May 20, 2020

As the saying goes, ‘Home is where the heart is.’

In this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Corey Adkins introduces us to a woman working her way back to her favorite place.

Odds are if you’re from Paradise, Michigan, you know Debi Skean’s laugh.

For those who don’t, let’s take a very short trip west of the blinking light in town. That’s where you’ll find the new place in town to grab some grub: Ebbys. That’s where you’ll also find the woman behind the laugh, Debi.

“My grandparents all came over on the boats through Ellis Island and made a very nice life for us. My Grandpa Priest couldn’t say any English so he would always call me Ebby. When I decided to do Italian, Mexican and American, I thought, well, let’s go with family tradition. I will just see what happens,” explains Debi.

This story starts eight years ago. 

“We used to own a motel up here and in the early 2000s, when things started getting bad for everybody everywhere, Michigan was really hit hard. So I left and went out to North Dakota and started working in the oil fields and waitressing,” said Debi.

But Paradise was always on her mind

“I’ve been on a five-year plan ever since I was 18 and I’m 60 now, so we’re hoping in three years will be done at the last five-year plan and then will be home permanently,” explained Debi.

Debi and her husband bought a food truck

“This is our way to come home. When you come home to Paradise you need to have a job, so we bought our job,” said Debi.

By all accounts, it’s working. Her food is fantastic!

“Italian, Mexican and American. We’ve got a French dip, we’ve got pulled pork, we have a breaded pork, steak, Parmesan time, we have pasta meatballs,” explains Debi.  “These are Brownie Supremes, these are like the sweetest thing on Earth. They are really, really good and we sell a lot of them, and then here we have grilled banana bread and butter, grilled banana bread is the bomb.”

And Debi, ahem, we mean Ebby… Just listen to that laugh, you’ll get it.

“Love, everything is cooked with love here, but you ain’t getting any of my recipes! You can come here and you can mangia Italiano, as we have that all the time, and you can enjoy Paradise and you can mangia and then go walk at all off at the falls,” said Debi.