Blue Moon Cafe: The story behind Sheffield’s veggie virtuosos
Established by Bill Clarke and Nick Dunhill, Blue Moon Café began life in 1995 on Norfolk Row, inspired by a shared love of veggie and vegan food. During the planning stages, the name was used as a working title, influenced by a catering stall at Glastonbury festival, and as the opening approached no better name came to mind and Blue Moon was the winner!
The café moved to its current location on St James Street in 2001. Situated near Sheffield Cathedral, it truly is the most beautiful spot. A trip there today is stepping into history; it dates back from 1865 when it was built as an auction hall for the estate agent Eadon Lockwood and Riddle. The current décor is like a 19th century painting, with an angelic skylight ceiling providing a source of illumination, creating a heavenly light-filled glow.
It’s important to Kitchen Manger Rosa to provide something different whilst also paying homage to classic dishes. To this end, the café draws on a range of inspirations: from the traditionally British homity pie to their imam bayildi, which is a Turkish roast aubergine and tomato dish and a popular favourite according to Rosa (“We couldn’t take it off the menu without getting a lot of complaints!). Excitingly, they change up the salad menu weekly, taking inspiration from here, there and everywhere. Above all, they concentrate on keeping the food fresh whilst exhibiting a vibrant explosion of colours on the plate.
As well as serving delicious food from around the world, they also pride themselves in sourcing their produce as locally as possible, collaborating with Girls Who Grind Coffee, an ethical and empowering initiative to support female coffee growers.
Over the years they have accumulated a number of awards, including the ‘Best Place for Vegan/Vegetarian Food’ in the 2018 Social Sheffield Awards. They have also carried out some amazing charity work, having raised almost £600 for ASSIST’s Sponsor a Room campaign. ASSIST is a local charity supporting refugees in Sheffield, and in recent years Blue Moon partnered with them by offering free meals on Monday evenings.
They know first-hand that small independent businesses need our ongoing support due to the challenges of the pandemic, as they recently fundraised £5000 for unexpected repairs. After being overwhelmed by the generosity of their customers, they managed to raise the full amount in just 72 hours! Sheffield as a community has kept them afloat, and they could not be more proud of the city they live in.
Read about more of Sheffield’s finest independent businesses in ‘The Little Book of Sheffield’, available to purchase online here.