A POPULAR café at the heart of Newcastle’s ‘business village’ has new owners.

Hannah and Ben Evans, owners of the much-loved Cake Stories coffee house and cakery in Jesmond, will be reopeningthe former Clock Tower café at Hoults Yard next month, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

The couple are planning to create an exciting new destination, bringing people back together over a cup of coffee and a slice of Cake Stories’ signature bakes.

“We’re super excited to be opening on the Yard and plan to transform the café into a destination venue – complete with an outside sitting area and an events programme,” said Hannah.

“We’ll open with brilliant coffee and cake, and a simple and focused takeaway food and drink menu created with ingredients from local producers. As with all things Cake Stories, we’ll develop the menu with the ultimate taste-testers (our customers) at the forefront of our mind,” she added.

Cake Stories Byker will create an initial six new jobs, which could rise to a dozen in the coming months. The licensed coffee house will eventually aim to open from 8am to 10pm, once Covid restrictions are lifted, offering breakfast, lunch and evening food and drink, as well as unique arts and dining events.

“We’ll increase our opening hours as people and businesses return to the Yard, but from the start, everything will be about quality – from funky sandwiches to seasonal lunches and our amazing square cakes and traybakes,” said Hannah.

Hannah and husband Ben have ambitious plans for the outdoor area surrounding the café: “We’re going to bring in two shipping containers to create a covered courtyard. Some people are understandably going to be a bit more cautious about sitting inside a café when restrictions allow, so this special outside area will be important to us.

“Cake Stories is all about bringing people together safely, helping people feel good and letting people know that they’re brilliant – often through the magic of a delicious piece of cake!

“This area will also be a big part of our brand new events programme – we want to work with the local Ouseburn arts scene and bring in performers, musicians, poets, spoken-word artists, storytellers and comedians to put on some truly memorable evening. Hoults Yard already has a great reputation as a place to spend time, hang out and have fun, and we’re really excited to contribute further to that.

“It’ll be a lovely spot for customers on a summer’s evening. Sitting in the sunny courtyard, watching a performance with a glass of wine or a craft beer in hand, and grazing on savoury nibbles and delicious cakes.

“Cake Stories has always been about connecting people and about bringing proper lush food to brilliant people. At the coffee house in Jesmond, we’ve hosted a community, a bustling hub, and that’s what we aim to do here in Byker,” added Hannah.

Cake Stories opened on Brentwood Avenue in Jesmond in 2015, and Hannah’s mum and dad, Liz and Jon Ward, have always been part of the business as partners. Since then the family business has continued to expand, responding to growing demand for its cakes, traybakes and brownies by supplying other local venues which now include Cycle Hub on Newcastle Quayside, Cakes Classes & Cutters in Gosforth, Newcastle Teahouse and Ernie in Ouseburn.

Cake Stories also supply corporate clients and a busy online community with their newest venture: Letterbox Bakes, with the Gateshead-based bakehouse being at the centre of it all.

“The bakehouse at Hypoint, run by Hoults Yard owner HyHubs, on Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead, is a purpose-built craft baking kitchen and is the core of the operation,” said Ben.

Cake Stories now employs more than 30 people, with one of its latest employees being Jamie Thistle, who will be manager at Cake Stories Byker. Jamie originates from Whitby, but has been working as an assistant manager at a Tyneside-based restaurant for the last couple of years.

Hannah was born and raised in Gateshead before going to university in Huddersfield to study music, where she met Ben, a fellow Northeasterner, but they couldn’t stay away from Tyneside for long and were drawn back to become part of the local food and drink scene.

For more information, log on to www.cakestoriesjesmond.com or follow them on Instgram at @cakestoriesjesmond or Twitter at @cakestoriesbake