Sheffield Star café of the year is a business with community care at heart

Amid heated competition from kitchens across the city, the winner of The Star’s cafe of the year competition has been revealed.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 6:00 am
Olivia, Lisa and Olivia at Big Baps, Lane Top, winners of the Star Cafe of the Year

Big Baps – Lane Top, Elm Lane, Sheffield Lane Top, took top prize in the public vote, climbing from second place in 2019 and pushing reigning champions the Old Pin Diner, of Palace Mall, Manchester Road, Stocksbridge, into the runners-up spot.

Lisa Hitchen, aged 33, who owns the business with partner Sam Oakes, said: “It means everything to win and beat so many great cafés which were in the running.

“It’s testament to the hard work we’ve put in, and the team we’ve got here. We wouldn’t be anywhere without them and our amazing customers.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The café opened in 2018, offering home-cooked breakfasts, lunches, event catering and deliveries freshly prepared by the team of five in the kitchen.

Lisa applied the lessons she had learned working in catering since she was 16 and also drew on community contacts, using a local butcher, baker and farm shop to supply the cafe.

She said: “We’ve took a chance when we saw the café for sale. It was always my dream to have my own place.

“We’ve built up our customer base steadily and gone from strength to strength thanks to word of mouth – we have quite a few people coming in every day now.”

While the heart of the business is the food, there is an equal emphasis on providing quality customer service and a sense of community responsibility.

Lisa said: “We’ve got a real family atmosphere among the staff and that extends to the customers. We enjoy seeing people come back, asking about their lives, and having a laugh with them. We have good relationships with customers.”

Like every other part of the hospitality industry, Big Baps has felt the pinch of the coronavirus slowing down trade.

Lisa said: “Everyone is feeling it and we’d be naive if we weren’t concerned.

“However, we care more for the community than the profit, so we’re selling all children’s meals for £1 and have extended our discount for NHS and emergency workers to include care workers too.”

Third place went to The Corner Kitchen Cafe, Halifax Road, Southey.