Ripon cafe with a big personality named Yorkshire Life’s ‘Foodie Find’ by Michelin-star chef Shaun Rankin

Oliver’s Pantry in Ripon received high praise from Michelin-Star chef Shaun Rankin who described the cafe as exuding warmth, and a “charming haven that embraces both flavour and community spirit.”
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The review, which was featured in February's edition of Yorkshire Life Magazine, came at the perfect time for the business, which reopened after refurbishment just last week.

After reading about the ‘foody find with a warm and friendly ambience’ reporter Natasha Audsley went to see why a humble cafe had Mr Rankin so impressed.

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Miss Audsley said: “I was affectionately greeted by owner Louise Grant, singing to the music and positively beaming during the lunch rush.

The staff at Oliver's Pantry, on North Street, with owner Louise Grant pictured at the front.The staff at Oliver's Pantry, on North Street, with owner Louise Grant pictured at the front.
The staff at Oliver's Pantry, on North Street, with owner Louise Grant pictured at the front.

“It was clear this lively cafe had a big personality.

“Although the queue was out the door, it was dealt with swiftly by relaxed and attentive staff, keen to offer whatever they could.

“The bold atmosphere, and clear quality of food flying out, delivered instant charm.

“I had suspected Mr Rankin, once a regular, had wanted to make this unpretentious cafe his five star ‘foody find’ for sometime.

Pictured: One of the cafe's managers and owner Louise Grant at work.Pictured: One of the cafe's managers and owner Louise Grant at work.
Pictured: One of the cafe's managers and owner Louise Grant at work.
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“Getting Mrs Grant to sit down for 15 minutes seemed impossible.

“But it was clear she loved every aspect of her work, and was a talented juggler of many tasks.”

Mrs Grant said: “This is actually better than Christmas, because it coincided with the refurb.

“I was head at a coffee roasting company, and my husband Tim a manager at a pub company.

The upstairs space doubles the size of the cafe and has a warm and eclectic design.The upstairs space doubles the size of the cafe and has a warm and eclectic design.
The upstairs space doubles the size of the cafe and has a warm and eclectic design.

“We always talked about having our own place.

“We thought if we don’t do it now, we never will.

“It took 10 months to bring the vision to life.

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“North Street is in a much better place now in terms of footfall.

“Similar like minded vibrant businesses have appeared.

“You can feel it, the excitement in Ripon.

“At the time many might have thought, ‘not another cafe!’.

“We knew in our hearts that we weren’t going to be that.

“We have a queue most days that extends outside.”

Proud of her team's efficiency and the energy they bring, she boasted of her many long standing team members which is uncommon in hospitality.

Mrs Grant said: “It’s wonderful that Shaun Rankin mentioned us in Yorkshire Life, he would come regularly before he moved home.

“We pride ourselves on the welcome, and being quirky.

“Even if people only come in for a coffee, we hope they feel better when they leave.

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“Normally, we can hook people in, tell them it won’t be long and work hard to turn the tables over quickly.

“Most of our food is homemade, and locally sourced.

“We knocked through next door about eight years ago which doubled the size.

“We’re celebrating 13 years this year.

“The journey has been an exciting roller coaster.

“But we were always sure of what we wanted to achieve.

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Oliver’s Pantry was named after Mrs Grant's father who was a butcher.

She wanted to build around the values he believed in, incorporating his warmth and the time he had for people.

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Mrs Grant said: “It was my dream to be bold, bright, and cheery, even on the greyest day.

“If you love what you do it's not like work.

“I really believe we are genuinely at the heart of the community here.”

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