Cafe Hemingway’s

This is a project where art, design and food combine. 

At the heart of every great experience is a story. The story of Café Hemingway’s is, in many ways, only just being written but it is a story that has all the makings of an epic tale.  It begins with a little coffee shop that is about to close down just a few days before Christmas. The staff who have worked there, for some it’s the only job they have ever known, have no idea that within a few days they will be unemployed and have to face their families on what should be a joyous time of the year, with heart breaking news. A long-time customer, on being told of the imminent closure, couldn’t bare the thought of the 60 year old woman who had only ever been taught to fry eggs, having no job, and no possibility of employment. He decided that the only option was to buy the shop, and take on the people who worked there. His vision was grandiose, but the staff had only ever been taught the most rudimentary of skills, and the kitchen had nothing but a microwave, fryer and toaster. And so the journey began. The customer began to gather a group of people willing and excited to go on an adventure together. Like any great tale, this is a story of people. And like any great tale it is a story of a group of people who have varied – but great- skills.

Cafe Hemingway’s has taken Ingrid Alice back to her roots of design in every possible way. From the initial name and concept generation, to the interior design, brand strategy and everything in-between. Right down to the finest details of how the food gets styled on the plate.

The initial challenge was the location, and how to create a successful restaurant in a space that was better suited to an automotive environment. Set in what could only be described as an un-glamorous parking lot in an obscure shopping centre in the un-fashionable part of Kyalami. This was followed by working with Chefs that had recently graduated and had no experience in restaurants, as well as those who had never worked in any environment other than basic coffee-shop. 

Taking her love for literature and history, she set about the task of turning this hole in the wall into one of the top 10 restaurants in Jozi. All done within 6 months of its opening. Working in partnership with her long-time collaborator Philippa Rose-Tite from Purple Raindrop – they set off on an adventure of epic proportions – all the while falling absolutely in love with this brand, and all the stories it had to share.

This project now has over 27,000 Facebook followers, is one of Jozi’s top restaurants and has been featured on radio stations such as 702, and had amazing reviews in The Sunday Times along with featuring in Jozi’s top 10 restaurants for 5 months between 2015 and 2016. The Fine Dining Room “10” has just opened along with the Gastro Pub with includes a hidden speak easy and a 8m long hand crafted copper bar. This project continues to go from strength to strength – proving that Design / Art / Food is in fact, the new black.

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