We meet Andy Crutchley the new owner of the Café at Libby’s as they look forward to welcoming you back.
The Cafe at Libby's has reopened and things will remain pretty much as they always have been with one minor change, local resident Andy Crutchley will now be at the helm. Andy is a local guy who enjoys a round of golf at Chesterfield Golf Club and is married to Emma, deputy head at Brockwell Junior School.
As we all know, the hospitality industry has been hit very hard by the pandemic and, following the sudden loss of a close friend during the summer, Libby took time to re-appraise the business. Andy has known Libby for a long time as a regular customer and, whilst browsing in the shop one day, asked Libby what her intentions were for the cafe.
"Running a cafe or deli has always been a bit of a pipe dream for me," Andy explained "and when Libby didn't immediately quash the idea of somebody else taking on the cafe, a conversation developed over the following few weeks. We reached an agreement which worked for both of us and I'm really excited to be realising my cafe dream and becoming part of the local business community."
"We will be offering some quality takeaway lunch options and sandwiches," says Andy.
Andy runs a business selling advertising on the back of cinema tickets and, when lockdown hit and cinemas were forced to close their doors back in March, 90% of his revenue suddenly switched off. The short and long-term future of the cinema industry is very uncertain with major titles such as the new James Bond film 'No Time To Die' being put back until 2021, giving Andy the time to focus his attention on the cafe.
The team will remain as they were and, most importantly for me, the scones are the same! But Covid has meant that the cafe business has had to adapt. Andy and the team have reconfigured inside to allow social distancing between tables. They've put in a takeaway/deli counter on the right of the door, so you can now enjoy Libby's food at home. If you're happy to brave the weather, there is also plenty of space to sit outside.
"All the team were furloughed through lockdown and, I'm delighted to say, they're really pleased to be back at work. I want to maintain as much continuity as possible and offer the same service we have all come to expect at Libby's... great breakfasts, scones, afternoon teas and cake" says Andy.
One thing that will be changing is a little more focus on the takeaway service. "I'm in discussion with some fabulous local suppliers and will be offering some quality takeaway lunch options and sandwiches." No excuses now! Ensure you take a break from home working and walk down to The Cafe at Libby's to get a great sandwich.
Whilst I was there Andy was sampling breads and pastries from Welbeck Bakehouse, one of the suppliers, and I can vouch for their produce... it is fab! He's also been researching other local suppliers. Andy and Emma use a veg box supplier at home and his findings are helping him put together a varied menu that recognises the growth of vegetarian, plant based, vegan and gluten free products.
"Using local suppliers is at the top of my priority list. Locally sourced products, welfare of animals, food miles and sustainability all go hand in hand in today's market and we'll be no exception.
"We will focus on ensuring we achieve zero waste over time. Local produce tends to come with less packaging so has less impact on our environment, and we'll be using biodegradable packaging for our takeaway food and drinks."
The cafe opened its doors on 1st October so, by the time you read this, it will have been up and running for a few weeks. Table numbers may be reduced inside but Andy is keen to ensure the outside space is used when the weather allows.
So, if you've never been, it's a great time to sample the delights of The Cafe at Libby's and, if you're a regular, the same service returns, but with a new twist.
The Cafe at Libby's
479 Chatsworth Road
Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Libby's & Paul Chapman