Now in its fifth year of trading in the Jewellery Quarter, Soda Bread Café’s Elisabeth Kennedy is as passionate as ever about her business.
Providing fresh bread, groceries and so much more in St. Paul’s Square, the café’s staff are excited for lockdown to continue easing and business to get back to relative normality.
But how did Elisabeth end up in the Jewellery Quarter in the first place? And what led her to open Soda Bread Café. The JQBID’s Digital Content Intern, George Hartley, caught up with her to find out more.
“Having moved to live on Caroline Street in 1991, I immediately loved the Quarter. I was two minutes away from the motorway where I spent my life travelling up and down the country. I ran ten independent shoe stores,” said Elisabeth.
Elisabeth originally ran Jade Shoes which was located in Corporation Square in the City Centre (now currently home to the Oasis market). “Myself and the owner were the buyers, travelling far and wide to shoe shows to purchase stock. I made several million for him so I thought I’d try it later for myself. I’m still trying!”
When Elisabeth’s boss sold Jade Shoes, they then relocated to the Jewellery Quarter and opened Braderie Vintage Clothing in the Biscuit Factory on Caroline Street selling everything from vintage clothing to furniture and homewares.
Now working in the Jewellery Quarter, Elisabeth was determined to pursue business opportunities of her own in the area that she had fallen in love with.
Elisabeth had always been excited about food but her battle with Crohn’s disease was a catalyst for her pursuit of her successful Soda Bread Café.
“I have been a Crohn’s person since I was 16 or 17 so diet and food has always been a huge part of my life. With people and their intolerances these days, this was my vision.”
The café is unique in that it changes its menu based on the best local produce available at any given time. We asked Elisabeth what else made her café special and she was eager to rattle off a number of reasons.
“We are more than just a café,” she said. “We’re a French artisan bakery, a local butcher, a local wine merchant, a local milkman, a local greengrocer.”
The variety of bread available at Soda Bread Café is also something which makes it stand out in an area where it needs to.
“We offer nine different options every day of the week! White and brown sourdough, French baguette, Irish soda bread, white Warburton’s, brown Hovis, gluten-free Warburton’s, New York bagels and paninis!”
Naturally, Elisabeth has her favourites. “My favourite sandwich is ham, buttered bread, salad cream and black pepper,” she said. “I also have an espresso with one sugar!”