Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

April 11, 2013

Meals on wheels

Mess Haul readies to roll into Andover

By Judy Wakefield
Staff Writer

---- — There’s good news for local foodies as the latest food craze is making its way to Andover.

An Andover couple who earned their culinary stripes at Palmer’s Restaurant and Tavern on Elm Street hope to park their new food truck on Main Street at the end of next month.

The official launch of Mess Haul is planned for mid to late May, said Stefanie Auchterlonie, who is partnering with Mark Stout on the new venture.

“This is our dream. We have wanted to work in culinary on our own and decided this was a great way to do it,” said Auchterlonie, a 2003 Andover High School graduate who has worked at Palmer’s for several years.

Stout, a 1999 Andover High graduate who was the head chef at Palmer’s for 10 years, said he knows “Andover’s palate” quite well and believes the food truck will be a hit.

“Adventurous and they know what they like,” Stout said of Andover’s taste buds.

About the size of a Federal Express truck and Army green in color, Auchterlonie said Mess Haul will be an eye-catcher.

“It’s very military with pin-up girls painted on it and has a B-17 bomber theme. We really like the military theme and mess halul is where they eat in the military,” she said.

Auchterlonie said the food truck has been ordered through a Florida company that specializes in designing food trucks. It need to be custom built and retrofitted to include all of the desired appliances while being up to Massachusetts code, she said.

The business needs a permit from Andover’s Health Department and Auchterlonie has already met with director Tom Carbone.

“This is not a new concept. We’ve given permits to hot dog carts and two cupcake trucks. They need to comply with federal and state health codes and they will,” Carbone said.

The couple has also been in touch with the Police Department and Zoning Board.

The food truck trend is in its early stages in the Northeast, but has been popular down south and out west, Auchterlonie said. The couple has spent more than a year planning and saving, but the truck now has been bought.

The ideal parking spot for Mess Haul is on Main Street at Chestnut or Bartlet streets, Auchterlonie said. The truck is expected to be open for breakfast and lunch to start.

“We can’t wait. Andover is just a great spot for our truck,” Auchterlonie said.