Cow & Apple – Dorchester’s Newest Restaurant Hits the Spot!Monday, October 30th, 2017
Cow & Apple is the latest independent restaurant to open in Dorchester next door to The Plaza cinema on Trinity Street. Specialising in serving great burgers and ciders, their tasty menu and chilled out atmosphere have been enticing Dorchester’s foodie crowd through their doors since opening in August. We caught up with owner Gareth Witt to find out how things are going…
What is the history behind your business, and what made you want to open up a restaurant here in Dorchester?
We opened up Cow & Apple last year in Yeovil because we felt that Yeovil was lacking somewhere with a laid-back atmosphere that great burgers and ciders sourced locally and made with the highest quality ingredients.
My family and I have been blown away by the success of Cow & Apple since we launched last year and felt now was the best time to share the South West’s great food and drink with Dorset.
Our friends at Finca have been raving about Dorchester for ages, so when it came to looking at expansion, we didn’t look any further.
Tell us a bit more about your business. What can foodies expect when they visit you?
Anyone who comes to visit us can expect a laid back, chilled environment where the beats are as good as the booze. Our menu is focused on the humble burger, which is always made to order and the number of locally produced ciders we’ve got is higher than I can count!
We’ve found a farm who we think have the best meat possible. They take the utmost care for their animals. They’re raised slowly, free to roam the fields and mostly eat grass. This is what makes all the difference!
Dorchester has a number of established restaurants. What do you think will make you stand out from the others?
Established restaurants are great because it shows us that people from the Dorchester area love having fun and eating out. Trinity Street is a great place to be and, with a focus on fresh, quality, local ingredients, we hope to give an independently-run alternative to the big chain restaurants in Brewery Square.
Do you plan to host any special events or run any promotions at all?
We love running events and promotions. We have competitions on our Facebook page, and hold regular ‘meet the maker’ sessions where you can learn more about the ciders and the beef from the producers themselves.
One of our most popular promotions we run is ‘burger of the month’. We love it when our customers suggest ideas for new burgers, if your suggestion is chosen, you get to come in and try it for free. Some of my favourites have been February’s ‘Love me Deerly’ venison burger with portobello mushroom cooked in garlic butter with smoked cheese, rocket and a berry jus as well as our most recent ‘Trump Tower’ which was two quarter pounders topped with Swiss Cheese, coleslaw and finished off with crispy strips of pastrami and New York style Mustard. Delicious!
Oh and we’ve got a spin to win game on our website where players spin the wheel each day to win food prizes for our restaurants.
You already have a Cow and Apple in Yeovil, do you have a loyal customer base there?
Yes we’ve got a great, loyal customer base in Yeovil which is amazing.
Since opening what have been the most popular orders with your customers?
I would say that The Combine is our most popular burger. It’s a beef patty with cheddar cheese, bacon, onion ring, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion. It’s proper tasty, but I’m biased.
Describe your business in 3 words?
Fresh, local, tasty.
If you were dining in your own restaurant, what would you order?
That’s a tough one! I love our ‘Piggy Back’ burger which is beef with bacon, brie and caramelised onion, or if I fancy something a bit on the spicy side, I’ll go for the ‘Farmer’s Wife’, beef with lettuce, tomato, spicy cheese, jalapeños & spicy bbq sauce. Add some sweet potato fries and a Dorset Blush cider and I’m happy.
If I wake up hungry, I’d order one of our Gurt breakfasts, gluten free pork sausage, two rashers of bacon, beans, portobello mushroom, two fried eggs, two hash browns, tomato and toast. It’s really popular.
Any exciting plans for the future?
We’re always making plans but having just opened in Dorchester we’re making sure or customers there get the best Cow & Apple experience. We have just been able to launch our outside seating space with some of our Crowdfunder supporters. They helped us to hire local artist Peter Sheridan to paint a magnificent mural on the wall. Make sure you come and take a selfie with our Red Ruby.
Cow & Apple – Crowdfunder Garden Mural from Ed Ovenden on Vimeo.
Aside from running your business, what are some personal hobbies or local activities that you enjoy?
Cow & Apple keeps me pretty busy! But when I do get a bit of downtime I love spending time with my wife and two young boys, getting down to the Dorset coast when I can.
What advice would you give to someone who is dreaming of opening his or her own small business in Dorchester?
If you’re new to the area, talk to other local businesses and get involved in the community. My advice to people wanting to start a business? Do your homework, have a plan, work hard, believe in yourself and go for it!