Meet the sisters who opened Southsea's newest cafe – just days before lockdown
TWO sisters are hoping to cook up a storm with their new business venture – despite receiving the devastating lockdown news on their opening day.
Sarah and Abby Simmons opened Sisters Cafe in Marmion Road, Southsea, on Saturday – just hours before the country was told it is enter another lockdown, meaning restaurants and cafes must close for four weeks from Thursday.
The duo, from Southsea, have spent months planning their new venture – after realising that having a restaurant would be a dream come true.
Until recently they have been running Sisters Kitchen, a popular mobile catering van that was often spotted at festivals and events, that also had a pitch on Southsea Common this summer.
While working together, they saw an opportunity too good to turn down.
Sarah, 36, said: ‘It was always our ultimate goal, to have a place of our own, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon – or in the middle of a pandemic.
‘This place came up, I came to look at it and thought it was too good to be true. I loved what the previous people had done to it. The timing was terrible but the opportunity was too good to miss.’
The cafe was formerly Grace & Ivy, which closed in September.
The two sisters have given the place a lick of paint - and brought their own style to the venue.
They have created a menu with all their most popular dishes – such as beef brisket, mac and cheese, loaded fries, full English breakfasts and a wide range of sandwiches – which they have perfected while working on their van for the past four years.
They are also serving ice-cream sundaes, and a kids menu.
The sisters, who are originally from the Isle of Wight, were delighted to open the doors on Saturday, and say that despite receiving the disappointing news of another lockdown that evening, they are determined to make it work by offering takeaway services.
Mum-of-two Abby, 39, said: ‘It has been busy. It is nice to have a focus. This is our dream.
‘It is great to finally have some bricks and mortar. It certainly is a challenging time right now but we are excited to be here. We are just rolling with the punches.'