Hullabaloo returns with artisan bakes and floral family room
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Hullabaloo, the vegan café in St Peter's Street, Ipswich, will reopen on Saturday after a two-month break - and it's had a bit of a facelift.
Owners Jon Halls and Jennie Debenham closed the coffee shop in January, citing the need to give staff a break after two years of Covid uncertainty.
But the much-awaited reopening is set for March 5, and customers will find "a little bit of a difference" when they step back through the Hullabaloo doors.
Mr Halls said: "We were all exhausted and had kind of lost our mojo a bit so we thought we'd take a couple of months off, recharge and rethink how we do this.
"And Jen's really into baking and had been baking sourdough loaves so we thought maybe there was something there.
"We approached the council about incorporating some artisan baking and they had an innovation grant for businesses that wanted to reinvent themselves after being impacted by Covid."
Funds were allocated to the café and used to buy an oven and a mixer to get the sourdough starter off the ground.
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But the revamp has also created a family space, with toys, books and a bright mural to give children somewhere to play.
Other cosmetic changes include a window bar and some new display shelves to show off bakery products to passers-by - and they're working already.
"Even though we're closed we've had two people come and want to buy some of the loaves," Mr Halls said.
Hullabaloo started life in Cemetery Road but moved to the town centre location in July 2019.
The coffee shop has won a Suffolk Food and Drink Award for its vegan offerings - but it's not just veganism that influences the couple's business.
"Everything that we do is based on a fundamental set of values and principles, essentially surrounding things being sustainable, good for you, local, organic, recycled, zero waste.
"The vegan thing is a choice but if you're a meat-eater you can come here; you don't have to feel we're going to judge you. But the nice thing about vegan food is everybody can have it.
"We're always trying to make sure there's something on the menu for all dietary requirements, as well as keep it small and in line with what's in season.
"Many people might come in here and think oh, it's a vegan café, but not realise the other values we're holding."
Saturday morning will be a blur of coffee, sourdough loaves and cinnamon buns, but plenty of other plans are in the works.
"Once we settle back in, we'll have other things going on. We used to have craft evenings, film nights, clothes swaps, gaming nights, shared community meals.
"The community meals are lovely and we get one huge table and lots of food and people can just come and make a donation.
"Our heart is into supporting our community and maybe there are people who can't afford to eat here but we want to meet them at a community meal.
"We just want to get open and let people know we're back, and back with a little bit of a difference."