The trio of quirky pods have been on the corner of Marine Walk for around 13 years but aren’t always in use.
Now, Emmy Walls has taken on the lease of one of the pods to bring it into permanent use as Emmy’s Coffee Pod.
Open six days a week, the pod serves drinks, snacks, ice lollies and buckets and spades, as well as treats for four-legged visitors, and in its first month of trading has already built up a regular customer base.
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Emmy, from Penshaw, said: “Everyone has been so supportive and say it’s great to see one of the pods in use. They say the coffee is fantastic too, and I already have regulars which is fantastic.”
After working at McDonald’s for 15 years, most recently as business manager at the Roker branch, Emmy decided to launch her own venture – and she says it’s a gamble that’s paid off.
She said: “This part of the seafront is sheltered and it’s a real sun trap. There’s only room in the pod for one person to work, but I must have the best work view in Sunderland. I really like chatting to people and everyone wants to stop and talk so sometimes it doesn’t even feel like I’m at work.”
People can pop to the pod hatch for takeaway drinks and snacks, with coffees priced from £1.80, but Emmy’s lease also includes space at the front which can accommodate up to eight tables for those wanting to sit down with their drinks.
Filling a gap in the market for early morning brews, Emmy is open from 7am during the week, which is making her popular with dog walkers and early morning sea dippers.
"I’d been looking for a permit for a coffee van and wanted a licence so I was in contact with the council already,” she explained.
“I knew I wanted to be on the seafront because you can’t get better views and it always has people down here. I was out for a walk one day and spotted the pods and asked the council about them and it happened that one was coming up for lease, so it was perfect timing.”
It was recently revealed that the team behind the successful Vaux Brewery in Roker will be transforming the neighbouring shelter on Marine Walk into a beachfront bar selling craft beers, wine and food.
Works are due to begin on the site towards the end of the year, with plans to open it in the second quarter of 2023 in time for the summer months.
Other new additions include the old toilet block on Pier View which is opening as Tin of Sardines on June 17. As well as serving more than 200 varieties of gin, the bar will serve draft beer, seafood and light bites.
:: Emmy’s Coffee Pod is open 7am-3pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 9am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. It’s closed on Wednesdays.