The Mash Tun Café’s Grand Opening at Barkby’s Church View Nursery fell on Saturday 22nd July.
The day had special significance to me as the sister/sister-in-law of the owners of the café, Joe and Laura, and the auntie of their baby who, at time of writing, is due to arrive any minute.
The opening will also have been significant to anyone who has followed the Mash Tun’s story: first a run-down 1983 Midland Red bus, designed to ferry schoolchildren; through a rapid and dramatic transformation into a portable bar; followed by its final emergence as a permanent fixture at Church View.
People have been captivated by the bus’s story because it is so unusual, and (I think) because of Joe and Laura’s resilience and determination.
They not only have a brilliant idea, but have twice converted the bus by hand, helped by similarly dedicated friends. The most recent conversion has been energised by the deadline of Laura’s due date, and the need to provide for a much-anticipated baby girl.
The grand opening itself couldn’t have been much better. Local people of all ages came to enjoy food, drink, and the lovely surroundings of the nursery in the sunshine. Besides describing how Joe and Laura’s efforts were rewarded, however, I’m also delighted to describe the quality of the efforts themselves. The bus is a fabulous novelty, with many original features intact or customised, and cosy, mix-n-match seating upstairs. In amongst the kitsch-ness, the café offers an impressive range of food and drink, belying the size and age of the business. Most food on offer is homemade, including the signature pie and mash, as well as burgers, pancakes, cookies, and smoothies. What isn’t homemade, Joe and Laura ensure is locally sourced or Fairtrade, and eco-friendly.
Joe and Laura know how to make good food, and they know the importance of making people feel at home. New ideas for the business – which seem to flourish in the newness of the bus – are always welcomed, making the future ever more exciting.
Alongside the baby’s arrival, the dynamic young businesspeople have plenty of developments up their sleeves that will hopefully make the Mash Tun a grand event for a long while to come.