A new cafe business finally opened its doors on Sunday morning with the official launch of The Picture Cafe on Wide Westgate in Grantham.
After seven months of refurbishment and over 12 months in planning, the ribbon was cut and the cafe was declared open.
BBC Radio Nottingham presenter Mark Dennison did the honours and was supported by owners Julia and Paul Williams and some of The Picture Cafe’s staff.
Julia and Paul had already opened a Picture Cafe in Bingham over four years ago and have since been looking for an ideal place to launch another. Paul said: “Grantham was our main choice as we saw the potential in its economic growth and new housing development, its reputation for good schools and it also has a wide catchment area of surrounding villages. When we heard M&S was returning and about the cinema expansion we jumped at the chance to find a decent property such as this which is Grade 2 listed.”
Despite its launch on Sunday The Picture Cafe opened its doors earlier that week with a “soft opening” on Wednesday. Julia said: “We wanted to open the doors without advertising to allow a steady trickle of customers so that our 26 staff can gain experience and so we got to test all our equipment and systems prior to the big launch. It’s been quite overwhelming the reaction so far with most of the 27 tables being full over lunchtime and a fabulous buzz and atmosphere throughout the day.”
The Picture Cafe sourced ingredients locally and everything is prepared and cooked fresh in their kitchen.
Julia added: “We have our own bakery kitchen and a team that bakes fresh cakes daily as well as a separate kitchen which provides hot food you would find more in a restaurant rather than in a family run cafe. Our extensive menu offers everything from all day breakfasts, pancakes, gourmet burgers to Paninis, sandwiches and homemade soups. We also have a great children’s menu too with favourites such as fish finger sandwiches.”
The Picture Cafe is also family friendly with baby changing facilities, a toy box, high chairs, and a buggy/pushchair park near the period spiral staircase.
Paul said there has been a very positive reaction from customers who walk in to find a mixture of modern design and industrial vintage with the grand chandeliers, antique theatre lights, old railway station clock and leather sofas. The Picture Cafe name comes from the art and photography that decorates the internal space giving it a unique gallery feel.
Paul, who is also a photographer and curates the art within the cafe, said: “It’s important that we make every use of the space to ensure that the interior inspires and delights our customers. Modern prints are mixed with my photography and old oil paintings that have been customised by my daughter Nancy to make them new and quirky”
He added: “We couldn’t believe the reaction on Facebook, it was mad! We had over 1,000 likes in only four days since launching the page and we weren’t supposed to be officially opened yet!
“The reviews, comments and feedback have been fabulous we really couldn’t have wished for a better reaction; we are delighted. It is important for us that a business like ours can attract people into Grantham to shop and eat out locally. We are proud to be part of the regeneration of Westgate by a family-run independent business which offers something different from the many chains that pop up in every town.
“We hope over time that our success will also encourage more independent businesses to open up in town”.
Due to the popularity of The Picture Cafe the owners have decided to open every Sunday and extend the opening hours on Saturdays till 5pm. Ultimately they aim to copy their Bingham cafe by opening on selected evenings with tapas and fine dining events - after all their motto is... “We are so much more than just a cafe”.