THE Heritage Café at Walton Hall and Gardens has undergone a major transformation with a new owner, longer opening hours and a brand new menu, catering for all tastes.
The facility is now operated by Lewis’s who have a longstanding attachment and love for Walton Gardens spanning over 60 years and extended their catering provision from July this year into the running and transformation of the Heritage Café.
This affection for the park and the community it serves is reflected in the pride Stefano Manfredi (Café Owner) clearly has after winning the tender to run the café, which is now open seven days a week from 9.00am until 4-7pm depending on the park’s seasonal opening hours.
Stef said: “We feel really privileged to serve the local and wider community in the café at Walton Gardens.”
Undertaking the running of the Heritage Café has the feel of a natural progression for Stef, who said: “I can remember being a young child and accompanying my Aunty Melia and also my Mum on the ice cream trailer by the play area, riding the long slide and being allowed to play pitch and put in the Summer.
“The Autumn days of golds and browns at the park are simply gorgeous and I can remember scrabbling round trying to find chestnuts. Undertaking the running of the café has been daunting to say the least and there will be much to learn. We believe the park deserves an excellent café and we have been really heartened by the positive feedback we have received so far. Our aim has been to improve the quality of the food and drinks provision by introducing high quality barista style coffees, specialist toasted sandwiches and luxury cake and tray bakes. I think we have achieved our initial goal, but we must keep on improving.”
A great deal of thought has been put into the menu, reflecting both changing tastes and demands with an array of gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian options.
Lewis’s have been conscious to aim to provide something for everyone and their pizza slice and fish finger muffins are perfect for both adults and young children alike. They not only provide traditional fayre such as the very filling and tasty Brunch Ciabatta (bacon, sausage, cheese and scrambled egg) using locally sourced ingredients from farms in Lancashire and Cheshire, but have also been keen to provide delicious vegetarian and vegan options.
Stef added: “As a team we spent some time testing various combinations and we are really pleased with the results”. The Vegan Black Bun and Vegetarian Red Bun have certainly become favourites!!
“The cakes and tray bakes are quite simply stunning and range from the Parsnip, Honey and Orange luxury layer cake to caramel digestive slices and chocolate brownie bakes. One of our dairy and gluten intolerant customers left a review saying that she had travelled the World and had just come back from New York and had never tasted a Lemon Cake as delicious as ours!”
The café’s very friendly staff aim to provide excellent customer service and welcome all visitors to the park. This includes dog walkers and their dogs. In the future Lewis’s want to develop activities that will support all local organisations including schools, clubs and businesses.
Café Manager Karolina explains “Walton Gardens is about people and the experiences they have there. We want to be a positive part of that experience!”