Over the course of lockdown, there’s been a significant bright spot – outdoor dining. Eating outside has been a hit and many restaurants and cafés have used the opportunity to create welcoming outdoor dining spaces. Already blessed with a, frankly beautiful, alfresco dining space, the team at Foxlake’s café saw the opportunity relaunch their eatery –Jay Bird’s Larder.
An accomplished café owner, Jacquie Gibson has always known that enjoying a spot of food with friends in the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures, and for over 12 years she has been sharing her passion for food, cooking and dining alfresco. It all started when Jacquie and sister Anna Hirons decided to band together to open a tearoom, their joint passion for food and hospitality coming from parents always having an open house, catering for family and friends. Anna left the business in 2015 but played a key part in the spirit of the café and Jacquie has being flying solo since.
Many businesses over the past year have taken time to reflect and adapt, and Jacquie saw this as a time to better define a vision for the future. Her son Jamie who has many years experience in the hospitality industry is now a key member of the team. Alongside his brother Cameron who is a very talented graphic designer in London, they both thought their mum deserved a brand which acts as a homage to Jacquie and one that honours her and her family’s legacy. And the new name was born – Jay Bird – Jacquie’s childhood nickname given to her, by her father. Rebranding isn’t just about getting the look right – every element plays a part, how the brand identity comes to life in the space, the graphics on the walls and menu boards, even down to the uniforms. And Jacquie, Jamie and Cameron worked closely with local companies to bring this to life.
It’s not just the setting that is perfect the menu emanates a careful, but laid-back vibe with food relying on good quality, local and seasonal produce. Jacqui says; “It’s not enough to have a great location you’ve got to accompany it with incredible food. We’re passionate about how food tastes and where it comes from. We are the biggest supporters of our suppliers and their love for what they do.” From breakfast rolls to milkshakes and flat whites, from locally sourced posh dogs to a mouth watering selection of cakes and tray bakes – there is something for everyone.
Jacquie has been blessed with a supportive team over the years. Café manager Jane has been a foundation to the café, supporting Jacquie for years. Several other long-term staff have also played a key part. For Ava and Michael, it was a first job and both are now supervisors, and Louise and Erin, still in school, are dedicated team members. There have been many other working members of staff who have played a role in the café including Jacquie’s daughter Nicole who has helped her mum over the years. Jacquie adds; “Not to mention Foxlake. They have given me a fantastic opportunity and supported the café for years and hopefully for many years to come. They are a great business and team to work alongside in a brilliant and unique destination.” And with East Lothian and Jay Bird’s Larder mentioned in the Guardian as one the five emerging food and drink destinations, they’re bound to be busier than ever.
JAY BIRD’S LARDER
Foxlake Adventures, Dunbar EH42 1XF