Rent hike forces popular coffee shop to find new premises
SINCE Another Heart to Feed opened on 5 March, people have been flocking to the Chapel Street café to enjoy it’s relaxed Aussie-style vibe and one of the best brunches in the city.
But owners Nicola Bell and Alex Hill (pictured) have told Confidential that they will soon be forced to close and set up shop elsewhere after some argy bargy with their landlord, who they say has hiked up the rent following their success.
Nicola and Alex, who are expecting their first child in March, say they spent many weeks making improvements to the building, seeking to emulate the buzzing brunch scene of Melbourne, where they lived for five years.
The brightly coloured exterior immediately became a beacon for breakfast in an otherwise grey neighbourhood saddled with continuous building work.
Their café had replaced another coffee shop, Honest Coffee, owned by the landlord, with the aim to get themselves established and eventually take over the lease, but it all became a bit complicated.
“Our last trading day will be the 21st of December,” a disappointed Nicola told us. “We’re being careful what we say, as there are still a few unresolved issues, but it has all got a bit messy.
“It’s a shame for Chapel Street, as this area is starting to get a bit of soul and life, but that’s not our fault. We love this space and we really wanted to stay here.”
It seems an opportunity might have already presented itself in West Didsbury. Through a friend of a friend, the owners of West Village, the bar on Burton Road, have offered them a temporary home.
The bar happens to open at 4pm, exactly when AHTF closes. A perfect fit then, and good news for the people of Didsbury, who can now look forward to signature dishes like smashed avo with feta, poached egg and beetroot hummous, or pulled pork bagels.
“We do feel quite lucky that this opportunity has come up,” said Nicola, “it’s perfect timing. We’re excited and have been breaking the news to our regular customers. From a lifestyle perspective, now that we’ve got a baby on the way, it’s probably a bit better for us to open four days a week while we find our feet.”
They’re hoping to open the new Didsbury venue on by the end of January.
The loss of the Chapel Street cafe is another blow for coffee-loving locals, who recently lost nearby Italian coffee shop Lupo after similar issues with their respective landlord. Lupo have since moved to new premises in The Boat Shed on Exchange Square, much to the disappointment of their regular city centre customers.
This is a disheartening trend for small independent businesses, which set up shop, make improvements to units and neighbourhoods, then find themselves victims of their own success.
Confidential has contacted the landlord for comment.