Family-run cafe aims to make guests feel at home in their local community
ROBERT Gray, the 24-year-old son of the well-known Indecon economist, Alan Gray, has just opened a new cafe in Greystones village.
Robert opened Cafe Gray along with his mother, Caroline, about seven weeks ago. The cafe uses food from local suppliers in Wicklow, such as Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese, Kilmullen Farm Apple Juice and Julie's Jams.
"We've always had a keen interest in food in my family," said Robert. "The idea behind the business is not just to start up a cafe – it's to create a mini-Wicklow food movement using local suppliers. We want to have a community feel in the cafe and to have well-known people in the community supplying the goods."
The idea seems to have gone down well with locals.
"The turnover is very positive so far and people in the community are quite supportive of the business," said Robert.
The cafe, which has a wine licence, is also trying to tap into the Greystones night-life scene by opening on Friday and Saturday nights.
"We do charcuterie boards and anti-pasto on those nights," said Robert. "All our wine is organic. We sell organic wine because it has no pesticides and we think it is better for people."
Before he co-founded the business with Caroline, Robert worked in the marketing department of Bank of Ireland. Caroline, who has worked for the well-known Good Things Cafe in Cork, is the one with the food knowledge in the business.
The mother-and-son team also plan to open a bakery within the next six to 12 months.
Robert believes there will be a strong demand for the "good quality homely stuff". "In times of recession, people get very nostalgic about old and homely things," said Robert.