Guilt free kebabs: derelict Sunderland building transformed into Bear & Natural clean eating cafe

A new cafe specialising in guilt-free kebabs and protein shakes has transformed a derelict shop on one of Sunderland’s busiest roads.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 11:50 am

After five months of building work and much investment, Bear Natural has opened in North Bridge Street, Monkwearmouth, selling calorie-counted meals for those looking for a healthy breakfast and lunch.

Thanks to its meals, which avoid processed food, additives and refined sugars, the cafe has already had much success at its original site in Heaton Road, Newcastle but, noticing a gap in the market in Sunderland, decided to bring their brand to the city with a sister site.

The former Lazarus Centre had been empty for around eight years and two floors of the building have now undergone a complete transformation.

Kelley Neal manager at the Bear Natural kichen garden, North Bridge Street, Sunderland.

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While the ground floor cafe is already up and running, a gym and roof terrace will open in the next month to complement the healthy lifestyle it advocates in a new addition to the city which has created five full time jobs.

Manager Kelley Neal said: “We opened our Newcastle branch in November and it’s gone really well, despite there being a choice of places like this in that area. In Sunderland, however, there is definitely a gap in the market on this side of the water. You’d have to go to Seaham or the city centre to find clean eating cafes and dishes.”

Speaking about the menu, which includes options such as superfood salads, sweet jacket potatoes, protein pancakes and protein pizzas, as well as meal plans, Kelley said: “It’s all clean eating alternatives. For example, a chicken kebab you would order in a takeaway would typically have 700/800 calories but our version is 380 calories.”

Kids can also eat healthier with choices such as goujons made with almond crumb instead of batter.

Upstairs will house a gym and terrace

Despite the building being dilapidated as the Lazarus Centre, it appealed to Bear Natural because of the size and free parking at the rear.

Kelley said: “We’ve had some really great feedback and a lot of people have come in after hearing about the business on social media.”

::Bear Natural is open Monday to Fridays from 8.30am to 2.30pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 3pm, with future plans for evening opening.

One of the guilt-free kebabs from the menu
The site was formerly The Lazarus Centre
Bear Natural kichen garden, North Bridge Street, Sunderland.
Bear Natural kichen garden, North Bridge Street, Sunderland.
Bear Natural kichen garden, North Bridge Street, Sunderland.