Happy birthday to Harrogate 'indie' cafe
A family-run cafe in Harrogate is celebrating its first birthday after a first year which has seen it overcome the obstacles independents traditionally face with aplomb.
Sue, who set up The Kitchen on Harlow Hill with her husband Rick and daughter Lizzie in November 2016, has become a success story built on good coffee and food, a comfy atmosphere and hard work.No wonder the ladies of Spa Sweethearts WI are among their most regular customers.Sue said: "From the outset Lizzie and I were confident that the menu, decor, quality of the food which is all prepared and cook on site using locally sourced ingredients was to a high standard. "Yet in those early days when we had our quiet times we started to question whether the menu etc was what people wanted.We even wondered whether we were in the right location, did Harlow Hill need a coffee shop at all?"The business has seen steady growth throughout the past 12 months, building up loyal following with many regulars who the owners know on a first name basis.The family working together has been crucial in driving this new business on Otley Road forward.Lizzie – who qualified as a baker at Leeds City College – is largely behind the scenes creating delicious lunches, while Sue runs the front-of-house operation. As well as the pair working in the coffee shop day-to-day, Sue's mum Barbara also gets involved providing home-made jams and preserves.Sue said: "Alongside myself and Lizzie in the shop, Rick, who is retired, works regularly in the shop enabling Lizzie and I to spend time developing the menu and promoting the outside catering aspect of the business. "Even my other daughter Becky, who is based in London, works in the shop when she's back home. "My mum makes our jams that we serve in shop and use in our cakes. And we've welcomed to the team Ruth Littlehales who has been a real asse - hard working, reliable and a friendly face when our customers visit the shop."The family team have made constant improvements to the cafe in Harlow Hill over recent months, including promoting the outside catering, introducing celebration cakes and developing the secret courtyard which was hindered for a time by the increase in trade and the bad weather.To celebrate The Kitchen's first birthday, it is hosting a fundraiser for Saint Michael's on Friday, November 10 at 7.30pm which has already sold out.Saint Michael's is a Harrogate-based charity the family has supported over many years, especially Rick who has undertaken a number of challenges for it, including Everest base camp, a Great Wall of China walk.Rick also organises an annual golf day at Pannal. In total, he has raised, along with other friends who joined him on the challenges, in excess of Â£40,000 for Saint Michael's.