Restaurant Profile May 2016: Caffe Spice, Larne
In this month’s Flogas Restaurant Profile, we speak to Mariann Casagrande, manager of Caffe Spice in Larne.
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
We first opened on Dunluce Street in 1999, and moved to Upper Cross Street when we needed more space. I had already opened Loafers in Larne, which was the first place you could get sandwiches made to order, and I wanted to do the same with meals. There was nowhere you could get a fresh salad made to order. Some of the food we still serve has been on the menu since day one such as our ‘kinda famous smokey chicken sandwich’ with chicken, smokey bacon, BBQ sauce and coleslaw and our spicy lentil soup. I also wanted to do nice, fresh, real coffee.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE
We have seating downstairs for 50, and upstairs for 40, which can be hired for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and christenings with tailored menus and décor.
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
A warm ambience and nice, happy atmosphere where our customers can come and meet their friends.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU?
We have an all day breakfast menu; sandwiches, toasties, wraps and paninis; soups and salads; a grill with burgers, baked potatoes, chicken, scampi and curry; and desserts.
We also do outside catering, with sandwich and wrap platters, fruit platters and hot buffet food available for office meetings or private events.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN?
We have four specials which change weekly. For example, this week, we have an asian duck wrap, Cajun salmon salad, vegetable quiche and a hotdog; something to try and suit everyone’s palate. We are always trying new things and recently introduced Crazy Shakes, which are doing really well.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
We try and source as local as possible; if I can’t get it from Northern Ireland, I’ll try and get it from Ireland. We make a lot of our own bread, and also get bread from the Country Kitchen in Larne and from Brennan’s. We get fish from Ewings, and meat from Watt’s Butchers in Larne and Hannan Meats in Moira. One thing we find it hard to source locally is chicken; we use so much chicken, we can’t find a local supplier who can keep it with our demand.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
We do get a few from further afield but mostly it’s local people including local businesses.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE?
The public realm works in Larne have been a challenge but you have to put up with a few bruises, and the face lift will be worth it.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
By using the best of fresh, local produce. We use butter, the best mayonnaise, rapeseed or olive oil and make all our own soups, sauces and salads. We made the decision to make all our own sauces so if any of our customers are looking for gluten-free, we will know what exactly is in them.
ANY PLANS FOR THE YEAR?
Along with other businesses in the town, we are planning to do Café Culture nights throughout the summer. The first one will be on June 4, and there will be a guitarist or singer in the venues. We’re trying to rejuvenate the night time economy.
Upper Cross St, Larne
Tel: 028 2826 9633
Mon-Thur – 9am-5pm
Fri-Sat – 9am-6pm
Sun – 10am-3pm
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