Street food moved indoors today when Mexican favourites, Goan specialities and ranges of freshly baked bread and cakes transformed a converted furniture shop in central Croydon.
Manju Shahul-Hameed, Mayor of Croydon, cut a piece of edible ribbon to open Surrey StrEatery, which will house seven food traders for the next six months.
The project has received part of a £23 million grant given to Croydon by the Lord Mayor Regeneration Fund.
The Council will oversee rent and utilities for the pop-up store giving traders six months of support to help them build their businesses.
Dayo Ogunmuyiwa, senior retail project officer for the Development and Environment Department said: We provide the space and equipment and the traders provide the rest as if they were in their own shop. We don’t want to spoon feed them all the way.”
The seating at the food hub was produced during a community table and chair building workshop hosted by resident architects EXYZT collective which took place on October 19. Sara Muzio, architect for EXYZT collective said: “We design and build everything ourselves, the only thing that we sub-contracted was the electrics and plumbing.”
Production of the pop-up store started last year before the traders were selected. Muzio said designing a space without knowing who would be using it “was a bit like going into something blind…We tried to find a way for [the traders] to keep their own identity, but we wanted it to look coherent.”
Roun Iyer, owner of Ro Co Coffee, at Ruskin Square, said: “It’s great because it gives us a little bit more exposure…we really hope it works”.
Alex Dos Santos, owner of Dos Santos Foods, which did not have a shop prior to the pop-up store, said: “This is an ideal opportunity for us to have a retail place to sell our foods”.
Surrey StrEatery is at Unit 3 Bridge House, Surrey Street. Standard opening times will be Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and evenings for cookery demos and community events.