- Tower Hamlets
A street food cart that opened in London Fields park on June 14, sets out to cater for the entire community, “not just the hipsters”.http://news
Italian-inspired Coppa Cart gained permission to trade in the public park until March 2014 through a Hackney Council scheme that supports local businesses.
The council’s choice of a trader was met with mixed responses from the local residents of Hackney, the area famous for its gentrification issues.
Will Coldwell, 24, a journalist from Stoke Newington, said: “I think it is a disappointment when the council is giving up space in a public park to private companies that are going to sell food, drinks and snacks out of price of what people will be able to afford.”
Although Coppa Cart pricing was quoted as “reasonable” and “certainly not expensive” by the owner Eliza Flanagan, £2 for coffee and £1.5 for a cup of tea turned out to be out of some people’s budget.
Bryan Eaton, 48, who is unemployed and lives near Homerton Hospital, said: “Not everyone is affluent in this area, not everyone has got loads of money. They only cater for the people who can afford it.”
“We should have an alternative,” added Eaton. “I would rather see a lot more shops here that can offer competitive prices.”
“You need to take into consideration what people have to live on,” said Warren Philbert, 35, a leaflets distributor from Dalston.
“Some people are on benefits, some people have better jobs than others.”
Norman Saggers, 45, who works for Young Hackney and lives in Walthamstow, said that the prices were average for the area.
“But if you are in a park with kids, it will add up quite quickly,” he added.
The food van is an extension of Coppa rooftop bar and barbecue terrace that overlooks London Fields. Both vendors are the trading names of Lardo, an up-market restaurant on Richmond Road.
Flanagan said Coppa Cart was not trying to be exclusive or elitist in any way.
“We thought about our menu carefully. We even offer Halal hot dog for £4, which is pretty democratic and suitable for people who do not eat pork for religious reasons or by choice.”
Other items on the menu include sandwich with rocket and porchetta for £5 and marinated artichokes for £2.30
Lorna Ellis, Coppa Cart manager, said that the cart had a lot of interest from the passerby on its opening day.
She said: “A lot of people are enquiring whether we are here for just one-off day and people are surprised when we say we will stay until March.”
Ellis felt it was too early to say which audience favoured the cart most. She added that Coppa Cart would try to cater for everybody in the park.
“From 8 am we are open for breakfast and coffee- grabbing people on their way to work, then quite a few people come with their children in lunch time, and in the evening we will create a little bit of an atmosphere.”
A few passersby offered their suggestions for Coppa Cart.
Mia Buzzi, 46, a tourist from Italy, said: “I would add something to eat. The drink menu is very long but the part with food is short.”
Edoardo Ugolini, 54, senior fund manager, said: “The food cart is nice, but I’d have it re-painted, the colour looks old. And plastic mandarines are a bit cheap.”
Both Buzzi and Ugolini said they felt the prices were fair.
Coppa Cart will be changing locations around the park throughout summer.
“We have to be careful not to tear up one piece of land,” said Ellis. “We have to move as it is a public space.”
Coppa Cart will be open seven days a week in the summer. For more info visit: http://www.lardo.co.uk/