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Café Profile: Box & Barber

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Name: Box & Barber
Location: Newquay, Cornwall
Founders: Damian, 33 and Oliver, 28
Instagram: @box_and_barber

Brothers, Damian and Oliver Lucas-Box first opened Box and Barber above a surf shop in Newquay, in 2015. They soon outgrew this space and moved to their current premises on Fore Street. Their passion for Australian surf culture is reflected in the fresh, acai bowls and speciality coffee served to visitors and locals all year round.

For those who haven't heard of you, what is your store all about? 

Damian: I suppose the idea started in Australia. Ollie had been travelling for three years, and I came out to meet him for eight months. The coffee culture out there is really prominent.

Oliver: Yeah, I don’t really know how it came about. We went to a place in Byron Bay called Top Shop and the standard of everything there was so high.

Damian: It had such a relaxed atmosphere and felt like a social hub for the community. I think we were talking about what we were going to do when we go home, and the idea of moving to Newquay and attempting to recreate something like this at home, seemed like a good idea.

We're proud of the space we've created. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it because it’s such a lovely thing to be a part of. Sure, we wanted the business to be successful but actually it's so much more than that to us.

Oliver: It’s nice to be a part of people’s daily routine. There’s a nice environment for people to meet up and chat, and everyone is welcome. We get ladies in their eighties, young kids, surfers... everyone. It’s just a friendly place.

 

What's the most important thing about working in this industry?

Damian: It’s all about quality. The coffee may look good but it has to taste good too. It’s the same with the food.

Oliver: It’s why we use Origin - the ethics behind the coffee. We make sure we source all of our produce locally. Everything that leaves our shop is biodegradable too. You won't find any plastic here and that's very important to us.

When did you go travelling together?

Damian: Well, I was travelling from 2012 to the start of 2014. Ollie was travelling from…

Oliver: 2009 to 2012 I think. Yeah, three years. Damian met me in Australia. We didn’t really spend much time together beforehand - we’re half brothers and only saw each other every other weekend.

Damian: We’re brothers from another mother.

 

What excites you about working in this industry?

Damian: For me, it’s about building a business from scratch and watching it evolve from a small space in a little room above a surf shop to this.

Oliver: We’ve established a life for ourselves down here now but we invested very heavily when we stated out, to get where we are now.

Oliver: It was important for us to be open all year round for the local community because there are only a few places to go - most places shut down.

 

What food do you offer?

Damian: We like to keep it fresh - all natural produce. It's simple but effective. Again, a lot of our influences came from Australia.

Oliver: We serve a brunch style menu throughout the day.

Damian: We champion our acai bowls. For those who haven't heard of it, it's a delicious berry which is full of antioxidants. We blend it with other fruit into a smoothie and add loads of fresh fruit on top along with chia seeds, cacao nibs, fresh mint and passion fruit. There are some great images on our Instagram.

Damian: The main item on our menu is The Big Breakfast. We never wanted to feature a typical fry up. Sure, it includes two bits of Cornish smoked back bacon but it's served with avocado, two eggs, a slice of sourdough bread and a beautifully seasoned, beefsteak tomato.

 

What is unique about your local coffee community?

Damian: It’s similar here to Byron Bay - I'd say it's as close as you can get to Australia on a good day. Neither of us wanted to live in London anymore. I think traveling really changed our perspective on that and cemented new ideas. Ollie got back from traveling and immediately moved to the coast. I got a job in London which lasted six weeks, and then I moved down to Cornwall to join him.

Oliver: There are lots of great businesses here. Have you seen the Little Birdie guide for Newquay? Only a few of the places in that guide were here when I first moved here, and now more places have flourished. I think it's only going to get better too.

 

Box & Barber is open 8am to 4pm every day at 82 Fore Street, Newquay.


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