Walnut Grove – 21 Year Anniversary in DorchesterWednesday, April 20th, 2022
Walnut Grove is a friendly, family run restaurant and coffee shop in Dorchester serving a range of delicious dishes made from locally sourced produce. The menu offers a variety of tasty treats all served up in a welcoming atmosphere and charming location in Durngate Street.
2022 marks the 21st anniversary of the current and long-standing business owners, who first acquired Walnut Grove in 2001. The husband and wife team (Nicola and Gareth) are one of the most prolific coffee shop/restaurant owners in the County Town, with over two decades of successful ownership.
Congratulations to Walnut Grove – here’s to a bright future in business with an ever growing community of happy and loyal customers!
We caught up with the team at Walnut Grove to interview the owners and mark the special achievement…
What is the history behind you and your business?
“We took over/bought Walnut Grove in 2001 when it was a small coffee shop with 38 covers. In 2005 we had the opportunity to take over the adjoining shop and knock through, this doubled our capacity to 76 covers.
At first we were unsure if we would ever fill this extra space, but it was the best decision we have made. With the help of our family and friends we removed endless rubble, re-decorated and reopened within just 9 days.”
What is the secret for standing the test of time and successful trading for over 20 years?
“Providing quality service, having amazing staff and being true to your customers are the main reasons lasted as a business. It’s also down to hard work and having a great relationship with our suppliers.
We have evolved over the last 21 years because my husband and I, along with our staff work so hard to maintain a welcoming environment for all old and new loyal customers.
It’s thanks to our team that make it happen. We have six amazing members of staff who have all been with us for many years. We didn’t lose staff during Covid, they have been with us through it all – we just have a nice time together!”
What sets Walnut Grove apart from other similar cafés and coffee shops in Dorchester and the local area?
“We are the longest reigning owners of a coffee shop/restaurant in Dorchester. Time is taken to listen to what people want and provide good quality locally sourced food and drink.
We have a good relationship with all surrounding businesses in Durngate Street. It’s a great social community – we all get along and look out for each other. A special mention is deserved for our neighbouring coffee shop Potters Café. Sara is a strong and constant support to us and kept us going throughout lockdown.
Another aspect that sets us aside from others is our regular themed nights. We host bingo (twice a month) and bistro evenings (once every six weeks). We also cater for private functions, from baby showers to business parties. as well as individual deliveries for local customers that we’ve got to know very well. Especially over lockdown we ran a home delivery service for some of our regulars. It wasn’t advertised, we just did it as and when and it was required – to help people we know.”
What are your most popular items on the menu?
“Our best sellers are homemade bubble & squeak topped with smoked salmon and poached eggs, fish platters and breakfasts specials. Lots of our daily specials are popular as is our core menu.
Our homemade scones and cakes go down very well and every coffee is served with a homemade cookie.”
Can you describe Walnut Grove in 3 words?
“Happy, inviting, wholesome.”
Have you any exciting plans for the future?
“Going forward we aim to keep standards high and continue to create new and innovative dishes with wonderful food. Our 21st anniversary itself is 12th May 2022. Every year for our anniversary we create special biscuits with the year on them for our customers and toast it with a glass of fizz with our regulars. We always mark the occasion, but this year it will be even more special!”
Where can customers find Walnut Grove in Dorchester?
“We are in Durngate Street – a very independent street, with lots of interesting and unique businesses. We are just off of South Street, on the way to the Dinosaur Museum.”
Visit Walnut Grove at 25 Durngate Street, Dorchester, DT1 1JP. Follow Walnut Grove on Facebook for updates, events and the latest menu highlights.