Mum and daughter open Clara’s café on Bury St Edmunds’ Lake Avenue precinct on the Mildenhall Road Estate
A mum and daughter have opened a new café on a Bury St Edmunds estate which aims to be a safe haven for those who have food allergies.
Mum Linda Stiles, 45, and daughter Clara, 20, who live near Ipswich, held a soft opening for Clara’s on the Lake Avenue shopping precinct on the Mildenhall Road Estate on Friday and Saturday, with the café now open Tuesday to Saturday, 8am-4pm.
The pair opened the café with an aim to create an allergy-friendly environment as both suffer from certain food allergies.
Linda said: “Clara has had both severe environmental allergies and food allergies and whenever we took her anywhere there was always a risk that she would get ill – and she had been ill quite regularly.
“So with this business we’re coming to it with our experience of allergies and really try to provide a safe environment for people to eat out.
“Also we really want a nice community café to help with the mental health of the community. A community always needs some place to go.”
The soft opening menu includes a full English breakfast, jacket potatoes, hot sandwiches, cakes and baked goods, coffee and milkshakes.
Linda added: “We’re keeping it simple at first and then we’re going to do as many things that can be changed to alternatives so there’s vegan alternatives, gluten free alternatives, diary free alternatives and some cakes that are egg free.
“We’re a nut free environment – we provide almond milk and we can use almond flour – but in terms of the main tree nuts we’re keeping nut free in here to bring that risk down.”
For Clara who has nut and dairy allergies, it was difficult when she was younger to feel safe while eating out.
She said: “It can be a bit of a nightmare. I could go to the same place three or four times and be absolutely fine, have the same food and it could be that on another day something has been cross-contaminated and then I’ll get ill.
“It’s always a question of do I risk going back. As I’ve gotten older, I will go back to places but when I was younger I did end up quite scared. I wouldn’t go to new places.”
Both Linda and Clara have a passion for baking and cooking, and Linda has helped out in her husband’s security business, but this was her opportunity to start her own venture – something she’d wanted to do for the last 15/20 years.
On opening Linda said: “It feels amazing – we’d been looking to be open since the end of July was our original plan. It’s taken us all of the summer holidays and then some.”
In the future the pair want to grow the business by offering delivery and allergen-friendly catering. In the coming winter they hope to offer Sunday lunches. They also may decide to open later.
For more information, visit Clara’s Facebook page.