Food: Try a taste of the Wright stuff on Bury market
Pitching up on Bury Market in November, Wright’s Cafe has fast built a fan base for its take-away toasties, salads and soups.
Introduce us to Team Wright's. What were you doing before this?
I have worked in the hospitality industry for roughly 20 years, give or take. The majority of that time was spent on new openings within the pub sector, but also branching out into coffee and cocktail concepts, theatres and live music venues. I moved with my partner and three children to a small village outside Newmarket in May 2017, after living in North East London for the past 15 years.
What made you want to open Wright's? How did the business take shape?
I have always wanted to open my own concept. With a change in scenery, the timing seemed as good as any. The plan is to perfect the takeaway and events element of the business before settling into a commercial premises, where I will introduce coffee and brunch. With the country seeming to have come to a standstill in political limbo, I thought it best to start with as little overheads as possible - which brought me to the market in lovely Bury St Edmunds.
What marks it out from the foodie crowd, would you say?
I cook food that I enjoy eating myself. I want my food to be accessible for all, with an emphasis on quality. All our produce is seasonal, locally sourced and bringing together the best of the area’s ingredients and producers. I really want there to be a home-cooked feel to it.
We know you grow a lot of your own produce. What's good from the veg plot for spring?
Yeah, I love spending time with the kids on the veggie plot. April is a great month to get outside. The fruit trees have been trained and I am constructing a cage for the soft fruits. I have plenty of radishes ready for harvesting and some great lettuce varieties too. The pea trench has been dug and I have broad beans, peas and runner beans going in. I have also inherited some fantastic asparagus, so am eager to get that in the ground and see how it turns out.
And you cure your own meats, too? How did you get into that?
It comes from a desire to be involved in every part of the process and to give a signature style to our sandwiches. It is a labour of love though, and is a process that can't be rushed. I try and make everything from scratch, with the exception being the bread which we get from the fantastic Stir Bakery on Chesterton Road in Cambridge. A baker’s hours of work are worse than that of a pub landlord!
If we've not eaten your food before, what signature dishes would you recommend? (The Reuben sounds incredible.)
The Reuben is our best-seller! A nod to my jewish heritage, it is a New York deli-style toasted sandwich with home-cured salt beef, homemade sauerkraut, dill pickles, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on toasted organic sourdough. However, our Bloody Mary-infused beef short rib is a close second. The ever-changing salad selection is also very popular; I try and keep all the salads dairy-free and showcasing some of the best the seasons have to offer.
You launched at Bury Market in November, didn't you? How has winter on the market been? Chilly, we imagine. . .
Yes, setting up and breaking down in a car park in sometimes sub-zero temperatures has been a little out of my comfort zone. The market is such an integral part of the community for small towns like Bury St Edmunds and as such is entwined with the history of the place. The other traders, some of whose stalls have been passed down from generation to generation, have been very welcoming and supportive.
We understand the ambition is to have a pop-up shop - and then permanent bricks and mortar premises?
That is the plan, though I know with a start-up I must remain flexible. The events side has taken off with weddings and events being booked in for the summer ahead. I have just bought a 1960s Rice horsebox from a farmer deep in the Fens. I’m planning to convert it into a serving hatch and take it to upcoming events. I am forever on the search for commercial property often dragging the family around with me. . . I find it hard to remain patient for the perfect site!
What's been the reward for you, thus far, of launching Wright's?
Without doubt, it’s how well it has been received in the town and the sense of community. There is a wonderful and eclectic mix of regular customers that visit the stall from all walks of life. The seating area is often full of strangers that come together over good food, and being part of that interaction is really rewarding. So much so that even if I get a property in the town I will carry on with the market.
Wright’s Cafe is at Bury St Edmunds Market every Wednesday and Saturday. See wrightscafe.co.uk and follow on social media for more information and details of events and pop-ups.
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More by this authorAlice Ryan