Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 11, 2013

Curbside dining

Food trucks satisfy a growing appetite for meals to go

Be it cupcakes or ice cream, gourmet sandwiches or hot dogs, odds are you’ve seen — and maybe even stopped at — a food truck in Andover.

The once-urban trend in quick-hit, grab-and-go dining has discovered Andover in a big way. And odds are it won’t be running out of gas any time soon.

Local officials see the arrival of food trucks as the latest incarnation in mobile food businesses, like ice cream trucks and hot dog carts that have been canvassing communities and setting up temporary shop in high-traffic areas for decades.

But those behind the wheel today say the new generation of mobile dining ventures offer so much more than they ever did — with even more possibilities to come.

A dream opportunity

Nadine Levin got the idea for her four-wheeled sweets emporium, Pipe Dream Cupcakes, from working in Boston for more than a decade.

“Boston is where the action is. ... There are food trucks everywhere,” she said. “If you want huge volume, Boston is the place. All those food trucks have lines that go on forever.”

But while food trucks were a gold mine in the city, Levin noticed there was no comparable movement in her neck of the woods.

The busy mother launched her business last year, taking her Pipe Dream Cupcakes operation on the road five days a week. She sees it as a chance to elevate her baking, which has always been a hobby, to a higher level.

That same urge drove Mark Stout, the former chef at Palmer’s Restaurant on Elm Street, to venture out on his own.

But with the high cost involved in opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Stout and his significant other, Stefanie Auchterlonie, who were both raised in Andover, opted to go the food truck route as well.

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