Sunderland cafe is dishing up a healthier lifestyle

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road, Fulwell.
Bojangles cafe, Sea Road, Fulwell.
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A cafe is encouraging Wearsiders to take a bite out of healthy living with its range of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and clean eating options.

Bojangles in Sea Road, Fulwell, is proving popular with diners thanks to its more health-conscious take on cafe and coffee shop cuisine.

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road, Fulwell. Owner Rachel Thomas

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road, Fulwell. Owner Rachel Thomas

Owners Rachel Thomas and Rob Ferguson ploughed £20,000 into the former Juniper’s Pantry, completely renovating the site to transform it into Bojangles.

Though the area has a selection of cafes, Rachel and Rob said they wanted to dish up something a little different to the norm.

Speaking about why they chose the site, Rachel said: “I live in the area and know a lot of the other businesses in Sea Road, such as Corner 93, Pure Bliss and Jen Deighton hairdressing, and have always liked the community feel.

“There are other cafes that do roast dinners and mince and dumplings, but the rather than be competition, we wanted to do something different.”

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road Fulwell.

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road Fulwell.

Specialities on offer at the cafe include vegan breakfasts, chickpea masala with quinoa, sweet potato brownies and clean eating Snickers cakes - which means it hasn’t been made with any processed ingredients.

It also caters for dietary requirements with a range of gluten-free cakes and meals, and coffees made with soya, almond or rice milk and matcha lattes.

The choices are proving popular, with vegan eating groups and gym-goers among the customers.

Rob said: “When you go to places like London and Manchester there’s a lot of independent cafes and businesses, and we’ve always found it frustrating that there’s not as many here.

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road Fulwell.

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road Fulwell.

“People have asked us whether we’re a cafe or coffee shop, but we’re a hybrid of both. It’s great to be in a street which does have more bespoke businesses. It adds character.”

Rachel said: “You can get everything you need on Sea Road really, we always try to shop locally and buy our meat from Stirks and our fruit and vegetables here too. We get our coffee from Ouseburn Coffee, which is roasted in Newcastle. No one wants to see units stood empty. We want everyone to do well.

“Everything is cooked to order, we don’t have a fryer or microwave, so it means we can make things up for people if they ask for it. A lot of the gym people have specific requests, especially for high-protein breakfasts. Because everything is made fresh we’re able to accommodate them.”

The site also has Wifi and phone chargers at tables to encourage people to use it as work space.

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road Fulwell.

Bojangles cafe, Sea Road Fulwell.

Future plans also include allowing community groups to use the cafe, which is named after the Mr Bojangles song by country music star Jerry Jeff Walker.

Rachel said: “We very much want this to be a community space for people and have been in talks about potentially running a regular book club and sewing club, as well as with vegan eating groups about meeting here and using the space.

“In the next few weeks we’ll also be opening up a space outside, which is south facing, so people can eat outside when it gets warmer.”