Rosie’s Kitchen not only sponsors Bude & Beyond website for the benefit of the community (thank you so much, Rosie’s) but is also something of a local institution. It is the ‘go to’ place for its friendly feel, welcoming all from families fresh from the beach, dog-walkers (and their well-behaved pooches), surfers and basically anyone wanting a cuppa and a chat or some comforting beachside food.
The brainchild of owner, Tom Dawe, Rosie’s was conceived when Tom’s daughter, Rosie, was 6 months old, as he realised most places to eat were not buggy-friendly. Rosie’s is thus accessible to all, including the loos! Coincidentally, Tom says it is rumoured he was conceived when his parents came on a second honeymoon to Widemouth Bay, so the links with Bude go back a while.
Of course, Rosie’s has developed since those early days. Now it is also a go-to place for charities and environmental groups who hold events and meetings putting Bude at the forefront of environmental thinking, gathering people together to go places, plus it has close links with the well-established and highly respected neighbouring Bude Surf Life Saving Club. Tom’s tendency to say ‘yes’ to ideas then worry about the practicalities later has been a massive shaper of this community feel to Rosie’s.
Tom is first to admit that in the early days, Crooklets was the tattier end of town. He first moved here after some frantic summers of festival events for he had a yurt business based in Ledbury, Herefordshire. Business was booming but it was not good for family life. At that time, Rosie’s was a newsagent’s and amusement arcade but Tom could see the potential and was not afraid of the hard graft needed to make Rosie’s into the place it is today. It required a big investment of time and money to revamp it, a process which has been ongoing.
Now, he says that with Crooklets Inn and Tommy Jacks, plus Crooklets Cafe, the area is seen as a food destination, far more attractive to visitors to Bude than it once was. He feels this array of promise brings people to Crooklets, where all of the businesses are established enough not to be competitive but to keep each other on their toes. Tom’s way is to open Rosie’s daily, providing consistent quality of food and service, appealing both to locals and visitors. When I first visited Rosie’s, I was really taken by its informal atmosphere. It is the kind of place I can go to interview people or to sit with a laptop and write, or go on a family post-beach outing to warm up. Conversely, it is friendly enough to socialise and I invariably meet people I know every time I visit. Additionally, I really liked their options for my tipple of choice, hot chocolate!
Named after Tom’s daughter, the cafe with its Wall of Rosie (post your photos if you or your pet share the name) also works hard to provide employment for youngsters just out of school, providing year-round employment opportunities. Rosie’s closes only two days a year and even opens for a few hours on Christmas Day when the Bude Surf Life Saving Christmas Day swim takes place. Starboard, the pizza arm of the business, is primarily an evening opening during the summer, providing a separate area with delicious wood-fired pizzas fresh from the oven.
The cafe is not seeking gourmet status but offers tasty food to appeal to all appetites. Tom says of Rosie’s: “It is what it is. Aimed at locals and holidaymakers, we provide a welcoming place with good value food”. Rosie’s also aims to keep up with changing trends in food. For example, popular plant milk-based drinks are readily available, with oat milk currently the most popular choice. The place is regularly ‘freshened up’ with new tables and chairs, better phone reception (now 4G is available in Bude) and the welcoming warming woodburner. The cafe now has free unlimited WiFi, where you thankfully do not have to sign into using a Facebook login (hallelujah) which many people find easier. Some customers hold business meetings there or meet up with friends, while others sit and relax for a few hours nursing a coffee – all are welcome to help create that essential varied sense of community, open to all. It’s big enough to cater for all without feeling impersonal.
Bude reminds Tom of an old-style seaside resort, how it used to be, and Rosie’s remains a vital part of that warm community feel.
The environmental message is, of course, one Tom and his staff are very keen to promote. Let’s face it, Bude is at the forefront of all things green and being by the sea really brings that home. To that end, The Happy Turtle social enterprise was formed, to create awesome reusable items for the catering industry, such as refillable cups and reusable straws to reduce reliance on plastics. Respect.
Key things to know about Rosie’s:
Parking on site – an hour’s worth is refunded
WiFi – free unlimited
Outdoor play area – enclosed (outdoor seating available)
Well-behaved dogs are welcome
Food cooked fresh to order
Gluten-free and plant-based offerings
Shakes and smoothies
Sundaes and waffles