Tofu café closes doors for good – but is set to reopen around the corner

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:00 18 May 2020

Steve Leppere and Jenny McCann, original founders of Tofurei. Pic: Archant

Steve Leppere and Jenny McCann, original founders of Tofurei. Pic: Archant

A vegan café in Norwich has closed its doors for good because of coronavirus – but plans to reopen in new premises nearby.

The building in St Gregory's Alley. Pic; TofureiThe building in St Gregory's Alley. Pic; Tofurei

Tofurei has closed its Pottergate home and launched a delivery service, but when it reopens it will be in new premises just a short walk away in St Gregory’s Alley.

Meanwhile the former premises, which still has the cafe’s much loved design of pigeons in one corner, is up for rent for offers in excess of £14,000 a year.

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The buidling in St Gregory's Alley. Pic: TofureiThe buidling in St Gregory's Alley. Pic: Tofurei

Tofurei, which opened in 2016 and was originally founded by Steve Lepper and Jenny McCann, was groundbreaking in offering food such as sandwiches, ‘soysages’ and burgers which are all made using tofu as well as a variety of chocolates, cheese and even their own soft-serve ice cream made from soya milk.

They’ve been renovating a three storey historic building in St Gregory’s Alley for a while and plan to reopen as a bistro when the government coronavirus restrictions are eased.

They recently posted: “Goodbye cosy corner pigeons! The shop is finally empty and the keys have been handed back.

Tofurei. Pic: TofureiTofurei. Pic: Tofurei

“A poignant day but we are looking forward to our adventures at St Gregory’s as well as building our home delivery service.”

They are delivering across Norfolk with tray bakes, chocolate pots, quiches and cookies all among the vegan delights on offer.

They recently posted about their new premises and said: “Work has been proceeding to transform the building, providing a lot more seating, a new kitchen and food preparation spaces. This will allow us to provide hot options along with all our familiar vegan goodies and treats and eventually we will be licensed as well, serving vegan beers and wines to accompany our food.

“Think of it as Tofurei but with the addition of things we all wished the old Tofurei could do. In that other pre-Covid world we’d have seamlessly moved from one to the other, but we’re having to manage this with no idea when we can open to welcome you. Fortunately whilst you can’t come to us, we can come to you.”

Tofurei uses only East Anglian grown soya and operates a factory in Lenwade. It all began with Mr Lepper looking for soya beans and rather than using ones grown abroad in China, found that a local farmer could supply them to him.

The premises in 12, Pottergage for rent, being marked by NPS group, includes an open plan, ground floor lock-up retail unit with a separate cloakroom.

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