Molly’s Café & Deli celebrate success in S6

Molly’s Café & Deli, on MIddlewood Road, has been a massive success with Hillsborough residents over the last 12 months, with huge queues often stretching down the street, whatever the weather conditions.

Despite starting out just one day before all cafes and restaurants were ordered to close due to the pandemic, the family-run café has beaten all the odds and is now a thriving business with a loyal fanbase, whose only issue is that they are running out of space in their cosy café to accommodate demand.

“It’s been so positive,” says Lucy Poplawski, who owns the café along with her husband Piotr Poplawski, “We never in a million years thought that 12 months in we’d be thinking we need a bigger space. For a new business, opening in a pandemic, to have the response we’ve had from customers is just unbelievable.

Lucy and Piotr Poplawski outside Molly Cafe & Deli

Owners Lucy and Piotr Poplawski

“At the beginning of 2020 we both left our jobs, with three little girls at home, and piled every penny we’d got into the cafe, only to open up for one day, and then Boris Johnson tell us we’ve got to shut down again.

“I just vividly remember thinking in that first week, ‘oh my god, what have we done?’ We’d got fridges full of food and delivery from the dairy, so we sat for a week and we cried, like a lot of people. Then our eldest girl said, ‘we’ve got it all in, why don’t we just deliver?’

“We started with friends and family and that just rippled, and then Toby Foster interviewed us on BBC Radio Sheffield, and after that night my phone just started pinging. We did so many cheese boards in that first two weeks it was just unreal. We’d get messages at one in the morning.

Molly's Cafe & Deli cheeseboards

“We’ve had five-star reviews ever since and we can’t thank everyone enough. Some days we’ve had a queue from the minute we opened until we’ve shut, which for a new business is incredible.”

Lucy and Piotr greet the queues each morning, along with Lucy’s sister, Kate Walton who has also left her job in marketing to join the family business.

The family-affair, which is even named after Lucy and Piotr’s middle daughter, sees Piotr in charge of all the savoury elements of the cafe, using his Polish heritage to bring a Slavic twist to the deli items, salads and sandwiches, which he lovingly creates fresh to order, using top quality ingredients and ensuring there is no wastage at the end of each day.

the deli counter

Lucy is the baker in the family and is in charge of all the mouth-watering sweet treats that take pride of places in the huge deli counter.

“We’ve always been a foodie family,” says Lucy, “me and Pete have always been the hosts with the most, so the café is just an extension of that. That’s why I married Pete, I loved his food!

“Pete was actually worried about putting too much Polish stuff on the menu, but we get people coming back and asking if the Polish dumplings are on the menu today, so the response has been so welcoming.”

meat and cheeseboard

The café has proved the catalyst for a number of new businesses in the area, including The Orange Bird restaurant and Pangolin Craft Beer and Bottle Shop, who between them have created a mini food and drink revolution on their stretch of S6.

Lucy said: “It’s been great. Pangolin have even said that our customers can use their inside seating. I mean, what a community! I’ve lived in Hillsborough all my life, and I’ve always thought that if I ever got an opportunity to open a deli, I wanted it to be fresher and funkier. Everybody has said it’s so good that you’re actually bringing footfall to this end of Hillsborough.”

Kate added: “We’ve definitely got a run now, and a little community of places. I mean, most customers that come in say that Hillsborough has needed this for so long. Something different and something fresh. That’s why people don’t mind queuing and waiting for half an hour in the snow, because they know it’s made fresh.”

Molly’s Cafe & Deli are now making plans for this summer’s Tramlines festival in Hillsborough Park, although, they tell us they have been so busy they feel it will be a walk in the park! For further updates check them out on socials here

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