CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Appledore team takes the top spot with their new cafe The Coffee Cabin

PUBLISHED: 14:45 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:45 23 March 2015

This is the dream team behind the success of The Coffee Cabin.

This is the dream team behind the success of The Coffee Cabin.

©tinakiffjamiesonphotographer

What does it take to open a tiny café and then snaffle Devon’s top foodie spot? SUSAN CLARK grills the owners of Appledore’s The Coffee Cabin to find out

The Coffee Cabin: Cute on the outside and cute on the inside.The Coffee Cabin: Cute on the outside and cute on the inside.

The 20-at-a-squish Coffee Cabin café in Appledore is as cute as it is successful. Open seven days a week, it’s not unusual for strangers to happily budge up to make space for each other or visitors to the picturesque North Devon fishing village to queue around the block to get in.

Both dog- and family-friendly, The Coffee Cabin marks it’s first birthday on 20 March with owner/partners Richard Parsons, 33, and Martin Ford, 32, announcing expansion plans designed to double the available seating (and probably triple the quirky cushion count) next year. They will do this by opening up the upstairs space where they used to live before moving to a rented house around the corner.

Richard and Martin are two of the nicest people you could meet and that must be a key factor behind the phenomenal success of The Coffee Cabin which was recently named as the UK’s best ‘Lunch for under £20’ restaurant by The Sunday Times. The owners have no idea who came and ranked them and their food so highly but whoever it was certainly has very good taste.

It’s hard to say who is most surprised by The Coffee Cabin’s success over such a short period of time. Both Richard and Martin admit: “We started out with really very humble expectations and just never expected it to take off so dramatically.”

Of course their success has very little to do with luck or happenchance and everything to do with passion, commitment, a strong vision for what they wanted to create together and a huge amount of slog and hard work.

Richard, who spent 14 years working in social care, is up with the dawn chorus to cook every single one of the delicious cakes they sell and Martin, a former Virgin Atlantic steward, goes to bed at night thinking about how he can bring his A-game to every aspect of their growing business.

Coffee Cabin Dream TeaCoffee Cabin Dream Tea

Dig a little deeper and you will also discover that beneath their gentle demeanour, neither are strangers to the kind of challenges that can only make a person ‘grow.’ Richard, for instance, who grew up in Hartland, struggled with dyslexia through his childhood and Martin, who was raised on a dairy farm at Newton Tracy, has conquered a rare form of bone cancer that almost cost him his leg.

You may actually have bumped into Martin on the foodie circuits as one half of the Hey Mambo mobile coffee van which he ran with sister, Sharon, who actually introduced the couple to each other. It was Martin’s parents, Raymond and Patricia, who helped finance their son’s long cherished dream of owning a café and it was Richard’s mum, Hilary, and late gran, Mary, who taught him to make great cakes. Richard is also a talented horseman who counts eventing and dressage amongst his hobbies,and whilst he’d like to spend more time with his horses, for now, it is the kitchen that keeps calling which is lucky for us because really, his cakes are delicious and well worth a trip to Appledore to discover for yourself why The Coffee Cabin still holds that Number 1 spot.

Thecoffeecabin/Facebook

The Coffee Cabin’s Top Tips for Running A Successful Food Business

1. Put together a great team with friendly staff who are people-oriented, hard working and willing to go the extra mile

Richard's delicious spicy carrot cake is a favourite with Coffee Cabin customersRichard's delicious spicy carrot cake is a favourite with Coffee Cabin customers

2. Identify your niche. The food at the Coffee Cabin is simple, honest, cooked with love and – mostly – on toast!

3. Pay attention to the details. Your customers will notice and love you for taking such good care

4. Think about your branding and design. The Coffee Cabin has a very quirky appeal that has been engineered and is not the result of just throwing a few looks together. In fact The Coffee Cabin ‘look’ was developed in partnership with local designer and branding ace, Hannah Lintin.

5. Make sure the partnership behind scenes is strong, shares the core vision and an equal commitment to make a success of the venture

6. If, like Richard and Martin, you hail from Devon, then make sure you shout about it. The locals will love you for it and also support the business which is important once the holiday makers have all gone home.

It’s In The Mix

There’s carrot cake and then there’s Richard’s spiced-up secret carrot cake recipe which (happily and after much hounding) he has agreed to share here:

Carrot Cake recipe

Ingredients

2 large carrots, grated

3 medium eggs

10½ oz light brown sugar

300ml vegetable oil

10½ oz plain flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp baking powder

1tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

Pinch of salt

2 drops of vanilla extract

Method

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.

Mix together the eggs, sugar and vegetable oil. Add all the remaining ingredients to this mix and beat for about two minutes. Split your mixture into two 20cm cake tins and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the frosting by whisking a tub of Philadelphia cream cheese with 13oz of icing sugar.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

11:47

Now is the perfect time to head for the bright lights of Exeter, where you can hunker down in one of the city’s many pubs, cafés and indoor attractions. Here’s our pick of the best places to keep warm, dry and entertained | Words: Chrissy Harris

Read more
08:15

From cosy pubs galore to winter beach walks, there’s plenty to enjoy in Devon at Christmas. We list 19 reasons you should come visit us this December.

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is particularly stunning at this time of year and so we’ve picked out 18 stunning pictures that encapsulate the county during the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is a joy to explore with its beautiful beaches, pretty woodland and charming towns and villages. Made even more magical under a blanket of glistening frost, we pick 12 walks to blow away the cobwebs in the county this winter

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A South Devon walk along a wreck-rich coastline with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the latest of our 24-hour tours of Devon’s best locations, we head to Britain’s Ocean City

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search