The Hilly Fields Cafe, opening spring 2012

It's confirmed: Hilly Fields will get a brand new cafe, opening in spring 2012.


Following a tender process led by Lewisham Council, Pistachios in the Park were the operators selected and they will begin development work this autumn, with the aim of opening early next year.

The cafe will replace the toilet block at the top of the park, creating a new attraction and saving the Council the cost of maintaining public toilets.

Pistachios are seasoned operators of south east London park cafes, running places in Hither Green and Greenwich already.

We've no further details of the plans at this stage, but can confirm that it will be operated by locals Fred and Ruth.

The logic of the plan - cutting Council costs while providing a facility that many local people will value - is irresistible and will help to encourage more people to think local when planning a day out.

85 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great news.

Anonymous said...

Are they a different Pistachios from the one that has a cafe/shop at Waterloo East station and other stations?

Anonymous said...

They must be nuts

woohoo! said...

woohoo!

Molewife said...

What woohoo! said

Brockley Nick said...

@anon1611 - I don't believe they're related, no.

Happy about this said...

That is brilliant news.

Anonymous said...

So they're not going with that idiotic bandstand idea, then? Thank god.

Let them eat cake said...

Do we have any indication on their policy toward apostrophes?

Great news, there will be those who see it as exploitation akin to drilling for oil in antartica. To me it's simply establishing a tea and cake place in a London park, what could be more traditional? Except perhaps public flogging?

Let them eat cake said...

For the avoidance of doubt, I'm FOR this.

Anonymous said...

...cake, not flogging.

Brockley girl said...

Brilliant news,
will transform the park

Anonymous said...

Will it serve decent, honest grub?

Anonymous said...

Honesty is the key word: was it a fair tender?

SIMMO said...

Exploitation is another one.
How many parks does 'McPistachios' want?

Mb said...

This is where the huffing and outrage falls over. At what point does a number of small cafes owned by a local become an evil behemoth?apparently about five.

Judge it on it's merits, is there any evidence that the other bussinesses they own are expolitatitive? Is The Brocca consortium hell bent on forcing nice bread down our gullets?

From what I can see, an established operator who knows how to run a small cafe in a park has been selected.

Comparing it to a international fast food chain is pointless

If you're joking, appologies.

Bring. It. On

SIMMO said...

Mb, there's not that many parks in Lewisham. If you are saying it isn't a franchise then you're blind.

Anonymous said...

McStashios! Love it!

Mb said...

And franchises are evil in themselves? I don't follow. How about two cafes, would two cafes owned by the same people be terrible?

Tea makes pee said...

Excellent news. As long as they have a public toilet!

BrockleyCross said...

How anyone can possibly manage to find the opening of a cafe in a park that sorely lacked one an opportunity for moaning is beyond me... and trust me when it comes to moaning I can do it with the best of them.

gasping on the dog walk said...

tidy. tea? and a spot of cake? in a park? splendid splendid splendid. although, should they not do a decent lemon drizzle in the summer and a squidgy brownie in the winter, i'll just squint at it in a miserable and bitter way from afar.

toilet user said...

I like to void my bowels in that lavatory from time to time, I hope the facility will not be removed altogether

The Oracle said...

What is terrible dear Mb is that you just do not get it. The writing was in the tea leaves on Pistachios as a choice you might say. Council stitch up may be more to the point. Unless you think it is terrible to have a level playing field?

Anonymous said...

News just in... McStachios opening in the Falklands. Mb calls it the Malvinos!

mb said...

Whatever.... if you can uncover corruption at heart of local government I'll be the first to appologise. In the mean time I'll be buying tea.

Avenger said...

How many tendered Nick? Can you, in the interest of displaying your impartiality, and to silence any critics, find this out and post the information?

Anonymous said...

Pistachios won't have been the only biddders, surely.

Trev said...

Mb... absence of evidence is evidence of absence, uh? Councils are not corrupt, you know that too. You are full of wind!

Brockley Dogging Society - Amenities and Infastructure Group said...

Our line on this becoming clear. Toilet blocks have been used since time in memorial for night time assignations, indeed it’s well established that ‘cottaging’ is so named because of the ‘cottage’ look of many of these facilities.

Although the traditionalists will be sad to see it go the fact is that modern dogging, with its myriad of styles and influences, requires more than a damp concrete floor and some sturdy basins to wedge yourself against. Since the playground has opened the toilet block has become increasingly irrelevant.

We have been in contact with the owner and are glad to say that he was not dismissive, his exact words were “please don’t call me at home again” which we’ve taken to mean that he will be setting up a formal meeting. We’ve taken a vote and decided that we will remain ‘pants on’ for any discussion at the stone circle with Mr Pistachio. If we can persuade the owners to provide hand holds and a surface finishes of limited abrasiveness then we will be happy to reintroduce the historic site to our activities. If numbers warrant, late night opening could possibly organised? Who doesn’t want to tuck into a creamy bun at midnight? NOM!

I just hope that the any losing bidders will have the good grace to admit that their submission was simply not good enough, convincing enough or perhaps did not meet the criteria set. Sometimes you just have to take it, as we tell all new members.

mb said...

Didn't say that, please read my post. All we have is a random suggestion by one (?) person that the winners got there by subterfuge. I've really no idea.

Anonymous said...

good news.

Now, what about Sainsburys? I would spend a fortune in there if they opened in SE4.

Sue said...

Great news, was impressed by what they said when they came and spoke at the Friends of Hilly Fields meeting a few months back.

@Avenger you could always trawl through the relevant Mayor & Cabinet Contracts papers on the Council's website if you're that keen. The juicier bits will all be on pink paper, ie confidential due to commercial sensitivity, I suspect.

Anonymous said...

i hope they serve crepes; the ones in hither green park (Manor house ...) were yum

Mondee said...

It's great that this is happening - and once the ball finally got rolling, it has gathered pace rather quickly. I was dismayed to hear that the lovely ice cream man will be forced out of the park after all these years once the cafe opens though. I don't think they should be afraid of a little healthy competition...

Brockley Nick said...

@Mondee - is that correct? If so, I totally agree, that ice cream van guy is great and there's no reason why the two couldn't and shouldn't co-exist.

Anonymous said...

The ice cream guy is Mr. Mullah. I'm not so sure he'll be forced out. Ice cream is a racket.

bumbags said...

Can I get this request in early to Pistachios on behalf of the MANY dog-walkers (ie potential DAILY REGULAR customers!)(hope they read this!!!)... Please can you either let dogs in to the cafe (like the Orchard- they're allowed in there and nobody has been savaged/died (yet!)), OR if that's not possible, please could you have a service window to outside for a take-away cuppa/muffin etc?!? This would be BRILLIANT. Not only for me and all the dog-walkers, but it would make VERY good business sense for you! THANK YOU.

NephewofBen&Jerry said...

I too believe the ice cream man wont be forced out,unless Pistachios have stipulated they will be sole provider in the park.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that Hilly Fields already has amenities for dog walkers where you can procure some "muffin" if you wish.

Mondee said...

The ice cream man is Mr Rustem. Glendale have indicated to the Friends of Hillyfields that he will no longer be allowed to trade in the park because it would take business away from the cafe. He would have to trade elsewhere. I think this is unnecessary and unfair.

Anonymous said...

He should just park along Hilly Fields Crescent.Get people as they come into the park.

Iron Man said...

Will the serve salads? I will be on a diet starting from next as I train for the Iron Man.

Anonymous said...

Are you taking over from Robert Downey Jr ?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Is the cafe going to use the old toilet block or is that to be demolished and a new building erected?

If the latter lets hope the Broc Soc doesn't object.

Brockley Dogging Society said...

The BDS will be on hand to judge the acceptability of any new erections on Hilly Fields.

in the interests of hygiene said...

hope dogs not allowed inside unless guide dogs - hope some other arrangements

animal fæces inspector said...

guide dogs often have continence problems...

Blue Sky said...

Quite, TM - I'll be stunned if it actually opens early next year, given the purported problems with the site that the 'The View' team listed - never mind BrocSoc intervention etc etc...

mollhench said...

Is that the Ruth and Fred I used to live with as a lodger? I hope so, they are marvellous and I'm sure will listen to all the Hilly Fields regulars. It's the type of thing they would do. Can't wait to find out.

Vet said...

There are no hygiene problems with dogs unless you have OCD. Just ask a Brockley dogger; they know how to keep themselves clean.

I wash myself and my dogs said...

@ in the interest of hygiene- dogs paws are no more dirty than shoes or pram wheels and they are often less annoying than other patrons...

Anonymous said...

Dogs are ideal for Brockley. They love tucking into good honest fare and they output only organic mounds.

Aricana said...

That's great news. Although Spring 2012 does sound a little ambitious. I walked past the new Co-op on the west side of Brockley station yesterday, which looks as if it will open soon. A decent convenience store at last.

Dog Disliker said...

@I wash myself and my dogs,
They are less annoying to you than other patrons because you have dogs. I don't like dogs. I don't like the way certain owners sometimes assume that I will find them as delightful as they do. I don't. I am sure that you are not inconsiderate in this way, but many dog owners are.
I keep my children under control in public places and don't expect strangers to understand why I love them so much; I would like dog owners to do the same. My children are afraid of dogs, especially larger ones, and in a cafe they are more likely to come up to us as there will be food around (and possibly on the floor, given that I have a toddler).

Headhunter said...

I wash myself and my dogs - I was thinking exactly the same thing! I was looking after a dog for 8 months til April... Was so sad to give him back. Anyway the number of pubs that would not allow dogs in, yet had cat(s) which jumped up onto the bar and onto tables after wandering around all over the floor...

qbf said...

Nothing wrong with dogs in cafes, though I agree their owners should keep them away from other people, unless those other people clearly signal that they're pro-dog.

This cafe is very good news, and their plan avoids the desecration of the park that those other previous bidders wanted. I do wonder if the terms have changed, as the previous bidders who posted on here made it sound completely unviable (the cafe owner would only get a 20 year lease but would have to bear all the capital costs - is that still the case?)

There was a Pistachio's cafe in Greenwich on the one-way bit in the centre a few years ago - is this the same people? That was a pretty good cafe, I seem to recall.

Brockley cafe fan said...

In the same way that just because some parents don't control their children in cafes/bars etc, some people don't control their dogs in these places either. That doesn't mean that on this principle all parents with children and dog owners should be banned from all cafes and bars. My first baby arrives in the autumn and we are keen to get a dog so that our children can be brought up learning the joys and responsibilities of living with and owning such an animal. Therefore, I (hopefully) look forward to attending the new Hilly Fields Cafe with husband, child AND dog in tow!

Anonymous said...

That said I'd take a nice Labrador over pretty much any jam-fingered Brockley child any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

I daresay pubs have cats to keep mice at bay and dogs are wont to worry cats.

Anonymous said...

If the cafe attracts the noisy element of the buggie brigade and their hyperactive offspring, a wonderful peace may descend on the other cafes in the area.

Perchance to dream.

Anonymous said...

The View were predicting all kind of issues that THEY felt made it unviable. The winning bid obviously didn't share that opinion and given that they run a numberof park cafes I'd say that they have demonstrated they understand the financial side.

I wash myself and my dogs said...

@headhunter- yes, I find it surprising. My fave snazzy wine bar in Kensington DOES let dogs in, The Wickham Arms doesn't! But Orchard does, and the Talbot. You should get a nice rescue doggy!!
@ dog disliker, there is NO WAY a dog should be allowed to bother other people in a cafe- no dog owner I know would DREAM of letting their dog off a very short lead (basically tied under their own table) when visiting a pub or cafe. If a dog isn't well-behaved obviously it shouldn't be in there. (really tempted to say the same about children, but I won't..!)

In the interest of hygiene said...

@ I wash myself and my dogs said...
@ in the interest of hygiene- dogs paws are no more dirty than shoes or pram wheels and they are often less annoying than other patrons...

They may not be, but the cafe staff are not likely to stroke dirty shoes or pram wheels before carrying on with their work (as I saw in the Orchard last week).

in the interest of hygiene said...

yes - staff stroking a dog / not wheels or shoes

Aricana said...

I'm not sure how big the cafe will be but hope dogs will be welcome too - muddy paws and all.

Anonymous said...

@qbf It's the same guy. He had a place in Blackheath around the same time too (in '96) next to what was the Laughing Buddha.

Nice man from a close, hard grafting Turkish Cypriot family. I used to knock around with his brother..

I wash myself and my dogs said...

@in the interest of hygiene- That's staff discipline/training, not a reason to ban doggies- not their fault they get patted!!! I feel the same way about toddlers picking their noses then wandering around touching everything... but hey-ho, I've not died yet. ps I'd hate you to get paranoid and stay at home every day because you might come into contact with a germ... but if staff are petting dogs then not washing their hands before handling food, they're probably not washing them after going to the loo either... (he he he! ;-)) (that IS A JOKE- the Orchard staff are SUPER- NICE!)

in the interest of hygiene said...

@ I wash myself and my dogs said.....I'd hate you to get paranoid and stay at home every day because you might come into contact with a germ.

Thank you for your 'sincere' concern about my welfare, but as the new owners will no doubt be made aware of this BC thread, am taking the opportunity to express my opinion. Doubt very much they are opening a cafe for dogs.

Anonymous said...

If we have to get rid of dogs then we'd have to get rid of mung bean eaters. They've scarcely washed since they started drawing from their trust funds.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Pistachios are taking a real risk here.

The "comprehensive" work undertaken by The View @ Hilly Fields showed clearly that this would not be a goer without developing elsewhere in the park on existing green fields.

Tressilliana said...

@Anon 03.22: pathetic.

@Anon 09.37: time will tell. I felt that the people that wanted to build a new restaurant on a different site were going out of their way to look for problems with the toilet block site. I'd have thought that given the numbers of people using Hilly Fields all year round, Pistachio's should have an excellent chance of making money there. They obviously know a lot about it from their previous ventures. Good luck to them!

Anonymous said...

Tressillana

Agree, time will tell. I was sceptical about the work that the view had done, tending to think they were hell bent on knocking the toilet site to secure what they felt was a better location.

Clearly Pistachios see the commercial potential of the site. Given their experience at this sort of thing, it is hard not to be optimistic.

Cafe liker said...

Hey ho, another local business enhancing community interaction about to open, and we the residents, clearly spoilt for choice in this Chelsea-like village of south east London, use the opportunity to start bitching at each other and fighting for territory along the lines of dogs, children, buggies, laptops etc before the building work has even begun. Is it that the smoking ban has left us bereft of the opportunity to gratuitously assert our rights? We now need a new group to start despising. Until the invention of a virtual reality cafe-like experience where we can all bespoke it to our own vision of white minimalist toddler and dog-free perfection where we are the only customer, we will all just have to stoically endure a normal cross- section of the locals, well- showered and catwalk beautiful or not, try and force ourselves to be positive instead of insulting, and let the cafe owners set it up how they wish without feeling like they've taken over some post- revolutionary political state. Or just f&£k off home and drink your tea there...

Brockley Nick said...

+1 Like for CafeLiker

Like, er, +1, er, like? said...

oh Brockley Nick, how very first G+ generation of you.

pip said...

Well said, cafe liker.

Hilly Fielder said...

A cafe in The Hilly Fields again at last, really can't wait, doubt the virtual Victor Meldrews will make an iota of difference to the owners. If only we could have a pop-up pistachios now.

Anonymous said...

Have they published figures on the goodness and honesty of their fare yet?

foxicus said...

Aw, lovely news! Another nice cafe. And in the park too. Really, what's not to like? And Pistachio's of Hither Green are possibly my favourite local(ish) operation so if it's anywhere near as good it'll be double whoop, like like like +100! I just hope I can still afford to live in Brockley by 2012...

Anonymous said...

A franchise cafe in Hilly Fields park. What a shame.

Pisted Odd said...

I have been reading about Pistachio-Gate and am thinking of starting an Occupy Pistachios protest. I want to get an idea of numbers and also see if anyone has a spare tent, and a clean sleeping bag.

Anonymous said...

Who else tendered for the site?

Anonymous said...

So utterly thrilled about this news. A cafe in Hillyfields is long overdue. Recently I met friedns in the park and had to take a flask of tea! Bring on the new cafe!

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WORST. WEBSITE. EVER.

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