Published on February 22nd, 2016 | by Niall Norbury1
New Independent Business of the Year 2016 – the Shortlist
The past year has seen many new shops, restaurants, bars and cafes open up across Reading – each bringing something different to the town. The shortlist for New Independent of the Year highlights those businesses which have managed to provide a truly unique service and have quickly become integral parts of town.
New Independent of the Year was judged with Luna Winter and Adam Jacobs (Jacobs the Jewellers, Reading BID).
The Chalkboard Cafe
Many coffee shops, cafes and delis have opened in Reading over the past year, but The Chalkboard Cafe has managed to distinguish itself by integrating with the local community in a matter of months. A not-for-profit business, The Chalkboard Cafe in Palmer Park has collaborated with vintage retailers, local food producers and others to provide a unique service.
Siblings Home is one of several recent businesses that have opened with multiple focuses and services. The Caversham business acts as both a local cafe but also as a homeware shop. Siblings’ excellent service and strong products have made it an integral part of the community in Caversham.
Valpy Street has been the home of some troubled restaurants in recent years, but in 2015 it was taken over by the owner of the original Chronicles that was on the site. Since then, Valpy Street Bar & Bistro has been serving up excellent food and defying expectations.
C.U.P. – Coffee Under Pressure
On paper, there seems to be very little to separate C.U.P from Reading’s other coffee shops. However, the St. Mary’s Butts business manages to excel in customer service, quality of product and atmosphere – fundamental aspects of any good coffee shop.
Bakery House have been one of the unexpected successes of the last year. The London Street restaurant won’t win any awards for its promotional activities or appearance, but it has quickly won over plenty of Reading residents with its well-made Lebanese dishes.