Green Shutters welcome to you…

Shona and I are very proud to be the new owners of the famous Green Shutters Tearoom, coffee house, restaurant… Bistro in Largs.

It was clear from the outset just how much of an institution the Green Shutters actually is as so many people knew exactly where we were talking about, even before we took over. Friends and family, accountants, lawyers and business advisors all knew the place, often through having been taken there as children, often by grandparents.

It is one of the real joys to see generations of a family sitting down to enjoy a meal together, especially for birthday or anniversary celebrations. It is not uncommon to meet three or four generations at one table as adult children bring their parents and grandparents out for a treat along with their own children.

It actually feels that we are more custodians of an institution rather than owners of a business. That of course brings its own pressures as the responsibility is palpable. Responsibility to those generations who have come “doon  the watter” for a day out by the seaside, to the people of Largs, customers, old and new and of course our staff. Regular customers will recognise the familiar faces we were happy to inherit.

It is actually like taking ownership of a classic car, it needs to be treated with respect and great care so that it continues to run smoothly and retain the elegance of age. It does not pay to tinker too much, modify it or try to race with it, it would certainly never do to crash it and risk losing a piece of history.

We aim to preserve the traditional values of quality, service and value for money by putting our customers first. We offer traditional fare, as fresh as possible that is made on the premises to suit our customer requirements. We do not have to conform to the corporate party line that many of our competitors must toe, meaning we can serve you better.

Observing tradition does not mean that we are stuck in the past either though and the one immediate change many will notice is in the name and the opening line of this post. Traditionally a tea room / coffee house by name we now serve far more cooked meals than cups of tea with a slice of cake. We do of course still offer a wide range of teas and coffee but we are much more than that. The term restaurant did not feel quite right either, a little formal perhaps? We looked to our customers for inspiration, even before we took over, and discovered that the demand was for good food, prepared and served quickly. The desire was largely to refuel and move on rather than to linger for a drawn out dining experience.

A quick look in the Oxford dictionary revealed “Bistro” as a small inexpensive restaurant. The origins stemming from the Russian influence in Paris “bystro” which means Rapidly. Rapid, inexpensive, high quality food is exactly what we had in mind so we settled on Green Shutters Bistro. I hope you like it.

The Paris connection also fitted nicely with one of our favourite city destinations that we have visited many times, thinking back the idea of running a cafe together was probably germanated there a long time ago, before it was ever in our consciousness. The influence of the auld alliance is likely to be a subtle feature through our menu as there are very few French restaurants in the area now, certainly not in Largs.

We also love the idea of including some of the Norse influence that pervades Largs. What’s not to love about incorporating influences from Denmark, the nation with the happiest population on earth. Danish pastries, need I say more?

Now you know the background and the ethos behind the latest chapter of the Green Shutters history, I hope to meet you in our dining room so that you can tell us if we are keeping the faith.

Bon appetite, Jim.

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