Among the hospitality businesses across Staffordshire and England who excitedly opened up for outdoor service this week was White’s Coffee Bar at Wolseley Bridge. Sauce caught up with owner Charlotte Dewsnap to find out what’s changed since guests were last allowed to dine there.
Based in the courtyard at Oakedge Park, which is also home to Charlotte’s father’s gun-making workshop, White’s has been around since 2016. It began as a tiny coffee counter next door to the family’s sporting goods business. When it became hugely popular, they decided to close the shop and expand the café, serving locally roasted Chartley Coffee and homemade cakes. Many of the bespoke fittings and furniture were made by Charlotte’s brother, Matthew.
The quirky venue had a growing band of loyal customers when Covid-19 came on the scene and shut hospitality down last year. One of the silver linings for Charlotte and the White’s Coffee Bar team is that closure has given them the chance to expand even further, relocating the kitchen into a freshly empty unit, extending their coffee counter and increasing indoor seating options. They are not the only changes, with the team also welcoming new chef Luke to the fold.
“Molly has been with us for just over a year, and she started out baking our cakes and tray bakes. She’s got such a flair for it. I put her on an apprentice scheme, so she’s now at college one day a week and works here for the rest of the week,” says Charlotte.
“Our new chef, Luke, has just joined us and helped to set up the new kitchen, as we’ve gone from a tiny space with just a panini press to a full-on industrial kitchen. He’s been a great help and has lots of experience. They’re both real foodies and passionate about the job.”
A new chef and a new kitchen mean there’s a new menu on offer, of course. While some customer favourites from menus past have been kept on, including hearty breakfasts, there are wholesome new additions like a steak ciabatta, homemade lasagna, and chorizo and chicken skewers, as well as their new range of Gunmaker’s Boards.
“We make as much as possible ourselves and try to use local suppliers where we can, so the meat comes from Perry’s butchers, we’re getting Lowndes’ fruit and veg, and our scotch eggs are from Wissage Bakehouse.”
Outdoors there’s a brand new covered wooden canopy softened by ivy and planters, and additional tables in the courtyard, increasing White’s covers to around 80. The extension and renovations will allow Charlotte and the team to host more of their popular theme nights and live music when they’re able, and they’re also hoping to open on Friday and Saturday evenings if all goes well. Also on the cards – when hospitality venues can reopen for indoor service – are Sunday lunches.
So, what was Charlotte most looking forward to about reopening?
“I just can’t wait to see everyone. I can’t wait for all our customers to try the new food, and I think they’ll be so excited to see what we’ve done. And to get all the staff back and just be normal!
“We’ve got the most amazing neighbours here – there’s an antiques shop, beautician, hairdresser, dog groomer, and of course my dad’s gun shop,” Charlotte explains, as if visitors needed any more reason to stop by. “But also because we’re on the shooting ground, people of all ages can come and do that. There are lovely walks near here on Cannock Chase, and Shugborough Hall is literally just down the road.”
White’s Coffee Bar is open Tuesday-Friday 10:00-16:00, Saturday 9:30-16:30, and Sunday 10:00-15:00 from Tuesday 13 April for outdoor service and takeaway. You can book your table over the phone or by Facebook message.
White’s Coffee Bar
Oakedge Park, Wolseley Bridge, ST17 0XS