Observant observers will have noticed that the little coffee cart on Gordonton Road has got bigger. Annette Taylor investigates.
THE NEW CONTAINER – fitted out with tables and chairs – has only been in place two days and the response is wonderful, says barista and manager Lindsey Ismail.
“We’re really busy. People are stopping and calling by, we’re seeing more families coming for lunch, especially with the school holidays on. A large group of ladies from out of town had a great time this morning, saying they’ll be coming back. It’s great.”
Made With Love café is part of Fiona Charlesworth’s Espresso To Go catering business, and is the only permanent outlet. Her little coffee cart made big news in April when someone stole it early one morning. It was found the same day in Karapiro.
“Everyone knew about it, and they came and talked to us, the support was amazing. People are really into the community and looking after each other,” says chef Kerry Tupara.
The little coffee cart – an earlier incarnation – first popped up down the road by the Puketaha garage last year, and was moved to the present location in February, with Lindsey as barista and Fiona doing all the (Ed: delicious!) baking.
“This is the perfect spot, lovely trees, nice and sunny and easy to pull in to,” says Lindsey. “We started off serving coffee only, then grew into scones, then slices and sandwiches – and then the cart was too small!”
Fiona, who lives nearby, had a larger container sitting idle, so it was decided to spruce it up and move it on to the site, which was done seven weeks ago. This was followed by the arrival of the new seating area, in another container, last Wednesday.
Fiona’s husband Graham did all the modifications himself, making tables, cutting out doors, polishing and sanding the floors.
“It’s great – very different from your average café in town, and so relaxed,” says Kerry. She and Lindsey have worked together in cafes before, and say there is a different feel to it.
“You meet people here,” says Kerry. Lindsey agrees – “In a normal café, people will place their order, and go sit down with the people they’re with. You don’t really get to chat to them. But here they stand at the counter and chat while their food is being prepared, it’s a more personal experience.”
They have local regulars locally and from further afield, too. “One woman lives nearby and pops over often, some live in Hamilton and work in Auckland, and get their coffee as they go,” Lindsey says.
“We even get people who work in cafes coming here,” says Kerry. “Stu, from Woodlands, comes here most days!”
It’s all about supporting each other, she adds. “He’s putting on a special Father’s Day at Woodlands, with a car-boot sale, paintball and Good George. I’ll be going to that, it sounds real fun.”
Next week a new chef takes over, and Kerry will help out with special events.
There will be even more fresh baking – “She’ll be doing fresh salads, a lot of cabinet food, brioche and doughnuts.”
Doughnuts happen to be one of N8N’s weaknesses. I’ll be back!
- Made with Love is open Monday to Friday, 6.30am to 2.30pm, on Gordonton Rd.
- Click here for a profile on Stu Robinson from Woodlands Cafe.