Can the Shack Shake Up the Strand?

2014-06-12 12.07.36The Strand area of Bude has had a chequered history, not least because of the rise and fall of the Strand Hotel. As the gateway to Bude, I’d love to see it properly developed, but all power to the small businesses who continually try to make the Strand a vibrant and lively place, including those in the Strand shopping ‘mall’. A minute’s walk  from the Triangle, we will  also soon  have The Shack (website a work in progress) which is due to open in the very near future.

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The shack is the brainchild of Jake and Michelle Prior who want to bring life back into the Strand with their new cafe/takeaway. “Oh, not another cafe”, I hear you groan, but bear with me, because this one does look rather different, and I think the couple have hit on something excitingly original.

Jake, who has a wealth of local kitchen experience,  originally wanted to open a gourmet burger bar, so started looking into the idea seriously last July, when buying Sizzlers was potentially an option. They now feel the place on the Strand, opposite the river, is just right for them. Indeed,  the couple feel so confident about their idea that all they have is being plunged into it.

For that reason alone, it will be worth giving The Shack a try once it opens, because anyone who invests all they have into #BigUpBude deserves our support.

So, it’s a simple idea: let’s provide quality food, catering for different diets, in a cool place, at reasonable prices.

 

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Jake is also keen to encourage Bude’s young people to eat healthily, not through force, but by providing affordable choice. Even the drinks are cool but healthy. Radnor Fizz, for example, provides 50% fruit juice and is one of your 5 a day. Jake has done his homework into school compliant foods, so is keen to provide foods which complement school meals. With cool diner-style booths to sit in, he hopes youngsters might see it as the place in town to meet up after school.

I suggest Jake is a bit ‘Jamie Oliver’, into food with a social conscience. He laughs and says he’d rather be like Gordon Ramsay, but without the swearing.

The menu offered will be innovative, for the aim is to offer healthy foods (such as burgers made from lean mince, with no additives) alongside the more usual options.  The shack is not about inflicting healthy eating on people, but to have it available for those who want it, to have it there as a lifestyle choice. It must be said that Bude does need some more healthy eating options, be they eat in or take away.

Family-Friendly

If you’re taking the children out for the day (which can be hard going and expensive)  you can get some healthy food, either to take away or eat somewhere cool. Prices will also reflect something of a crusade to be the  family-friendly healthy choice for Bude. As Jake points out, they are situated near a park which parents and children use a lot, so the couple hope The Shack will be a natural stopping off place for refreshments, with prices that reflect their focus.

Likewise, for parents taking their children to school, it can be a meeting place for breakfast or a tasty treat. Yes, there will also be family-friendly customer loos, with baby changing facilities.

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Jake and Michelle also plan to use biodegradable packaging, using a minimum to keep takeaway food hot. They will offer all day speciality burgers, using Tasca Italian style artisan bread (this is vegan and 80% healthier than normal bread; with only 1% salt, it is GM and preservative free), house salads, all day breakfasts, including vegetarian/vegan, and pasta, including a healthy option, Pasta King, ‘less than 250 calories a pot, low in saturated fat and sugar’ version which will contain one of your 5 a day.

So, why The Shack? Well, they wanted a theme that was cool for kids. When they moved in, the place was a shell, a blank canvas, painted bright purple. It is being transformed by  local company Nine Design, who (I think) have also worked on Crooklets Inn, Lucky Kiss, the bar and loos in Hebasca, Tommy Jack’s, the Olive Tree, and the Manor, so the decor is quality, bespoke local stuff. Local business, Absolute Desserts, will provide the sweet treats, home baked in Bude. Other vital work has been in the hands of Webb Electricals from Bude and Courtenay Plumbing, also from Bude. Very much keeping it local, keeping it Bude. Some of the kitchen equipment was also bought from G’s on Queen Street.

So, what’s the background on the idea?  Well, Michelle worked at Zoeftig for 7 years, so has good administrative experience. She will be more the ‘paperwork’ arm of the outfit, working from home doing the accounts, ordering, system updates, and stock control, while also caring for their six month old daughter, Honey. Jake lived in Spain for 7 years, working largely in tapas bars. He has loads of kitchen experience, much of it local, in kitchens, pubs and hotels, and takeaways, so he has picked up ideas and  tips first hand, the best of which he is recycling. He calls himself “just a cook” but rest assured that all the appropriate food hygiene and health and safety needs are complete and met. The business will start as a family one, but hopefully, will be able to expand its scope and staff in the future. Really, the couple are living their dream, feeling that if someone has a dream, they really should try their hardest to follow it, and living by their own example. With their hard-working natures and youthful enthusiasm, hopefully the Shack will quickly become a key Bude eatery.

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Shack Facts

Opening hours will be Mon-Sat – 7.30am – 9pm, Sunday 10am – 2pm, all year round

Close to the Crescent Car Park (also limited parking on the Strand).

The Shack is supporting young people through Bude Scouts.

Birth of the Shack will hopefully be June, 2014 (tbc).

There will be vegetarian/vegan options (hurrah!)

You can take away or eat in, with cool ‘chill zones’.

Hoping to have a local delivery service.

Disabled access.

Family friendly.

All day breakfasts, house salads, gourmet burgers, and pasta king.

Biodegradable packaging.

Healthy options for all ages plus tasty treats.

The website intro says it all:

 

The Shack is a modern cafe and takeaway offering fresh & healthy food with a large eat in area. We are situated opposite The Strand river in Bude.

We are pushing the boat out with our new menu to Bude, putting the sails up on this coastal town and meeting our customers’ needs. Whether you want a tasty treat, or a healthier snack, we will do our very best to give you what you want, how you want it, with our unique menu design, along with seasonal promotions. If you want affordable friendly service along with local produce and a comfortable atmosphere, look no further. We have disabled access, family loos and plenty of seating; we also offer vegan & vegetarian options…

I wish Jake and Michelle well with their exciting new venture and will be following (and, of course trying out) The Shack . I hope the rest of Bude will, too. 

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