FEATURE: Wildflower Café | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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As someone who has recently tried to take the plunge into vegetarianism (not altogether successfully, I may add), it’s safe to say that the process is made much easier with the presence of lovely independent eateries. Nowadays, it’s becoming difficult to find a street without a veggie cafe on it – most of which are headed by locals with a burning passion for food, art and culture. One-such lady is Jessie Salmon, co-owner of the latest addition to Newcastle’s growing roster of Vegan hangouts: The Wildflower Café. Located a brief trek away from the o2 Academy on Westgate Road, Wildflower pride themselves on being something of a haven for all things bohemian.

“I’ve always wanted to own a little café,” She gushes. “I have a background in interior design and textiles, and want to make a safe space for creatives to come and express themselves- somewhere away from the mainstream. It’s a place where ethics meets creativity!”

It’s certainly an admirable cause. Whilst lack of choice, wrinkled noses and light ridicule often come as part and parcel with the vegan diet, Jessie and her business partner Asher Turnbull seem determined to champion the lifestyle with their fresh new business. “Everything we make is vegan, and the menu changes every day.” Explains Jessie. “It varies a lot – most of the time we have banana bread, brownies, breakfast muffins, all sorts of cakes. But we also like to experiment, like, making people go, ‘crikey, I can’t believe that’s vegan!’ when they eat our donuts or ice-cream!”. But there’s more to this business than just good eating: it’s also a blossoming artistic hub, hosting everything from exhibitions and gigs to craft workshops and even art lessons. “The ultimate vision of the business is to create interesting and gorgeous food, but also to promote the art and music scene. We put on free pop-up art exhibitions for artists who have never had the chance to showcase their work before. There’s also monthly gigs called Beatz and (vegan) burgers on the last friday of each month, as well as movie-themed dinner parties – we’ve already hosted a Studio Ghibli night with 5-course fine dining and fancy dress! Plus, there’s an endless supply of crafty things, so anyone who fancies popping in for a cuppa and some drawing, sewing or knitting can do! Creativity is actively encouraged – we’re already drawing an eclectic crowd.”

For the lovely folk at the wildflower, their passion and endless optimism signals a bright future for all veggie art cafés, including their own. “There are so many things I’d like to do other than run a normal cafe – one of our aims at the moment is to get a permanent alcohol and entertainment licence, so we can host a bigger variety of events. Personally, I’d love to make more ice-cream and maybe have a stall at a festival one day – we want to keep working with local artists, too. My sister Maddie is already painting a wonderful mural on our wall, and we’re getting a stencil artist to create something eye-catching for outside. Most of all, we want to create something that is both ethical and beautiful, with substance – that’s the main goal.”

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