When Lucie Ellis returned from Cornwall to reopen her beloved cafe/restaurant The Milkshed she knew it would have to be different.
How different however she had no idea, because the convivial, bustling pre-Covid space in Weston On The Green relied on its many customers returning.
To cope with the many limitations and restrictions imposed on the hospitality industry, Lucie decided to take the entire Milkshed venture outside.
Starting off with a daily takeaway and weekend dinner service, which immediately took off, Lucie refined her menu to match.
Since then she has turned the interior of the restaurant into more of a shop/deli and opened up all the tables outside to provide an outdoor dining area.
And yesterday she erected a new outdoor marquee to accommodate the demand and provide shelter should the weather turn nasty.
Rushed off her feet and currently open seven days a week, Lucy has been amazed by the response and is delighted with her new look Milkshed.
“What we offer is essentially a takeaway service but now people can eat their takeaways here,” she explains.
“We have also drastically changed the menu, with only five hot dishes everyday, but people can come and buy boxed salads made up in the fridge or preorder our new picnics. There’s still lots of choice.”
So was she nervous beforehand? “After lockdown, I was worried no one would come back. It was such an unknown. There were so many people saying they certainly wouldn’t be visiting a restaurant, and I’m not sure we are out of the woods yet,” Lucie says.
“But we have been so touched by how many of our customers have adjusted to our new way of serving and feeding them and are now considering keeping this going outside until the autumn.”
The changes have paid off then? “Absolutely, it’s been absolutely chock actually, even though everyone has been socially distancing of course and following the rules and guidelines.
“But it has enabled us to stay open, keep the business going and keep all out staff. So for us its been worth reopening. It’s gone really well. But it keeps you on your toes because you have to keep adjusting. Things have already changed so quickly in the past few weeks.”
Lucie also bakes bread for the weekends, tops up the home-made ice creams, sells Middle Eastern ingredients, made some personal recipe cards and so much more.
“We have all sorts of ideas in the pipeline, bubbling away,” she smiles.
As for the future, Lucie says: “It’s very hard isn’t it to know what’s going to happen? To us, it’s been like when we first opened and we are almost relearning everything.
“But other than that it’s a really nice atmosphere here and we are really pleased with what we’ve created. The Milkshed lives on.”
The Milkshed is now open 8.30am-4.30pm seven days a week.
The Milk Shed Store, Manor Farm,
Weston on the Green, OX25 3QL
For details go to https://www.themilkshedstore.uk