New shop and café to open in Norwich this month

A new shop and café aims to celebrate all things Norfolk when it opens later this month.

St Giles Pantry will reopen in the former home of independent boutique Mora Lifestyle, which said it was moving online after shutting at the start of the pandemic.

Alan Sabol will now take over the building, at 95A Upper St Giles Street, to offer fresh produce and goods from local suppliers.

I have been toying with this idea for a couple of years and then, when Covid-19 hit, I saw an opportunity,” he said. “My 25 years’ experience in hospitality gave me great contacts and business skills so, when I saw this premises had come up, I leapt at the opportunity to bring the Pantry to fruition.

His mind was quickly made up - it’s been about seven weeks since that first viewing, and Mr Sabol, former hotel director at The Oaksmere in Eye, near Diss, hopes to open the shop to the public in mid-October.

I think people’s attitudes have changed on where they source their ingredients. We are so lucky in Norfolk to have so many good suppliers - I want to celebrate everything Norfolk.”

He said the pantry will be selling fresh vegetables and fruit from local allotments, as well as glass-bottled milk.

The business will have a separate commercial unit to package up orders of hampers, which Mr Sabol said were already popular.

Mr Sabol said: “The Pantry is a cosy, comfortable place, where people can try local wines and beers, have a coffee and stock up on essentials. The hampers have already proved so popular we’ve set up a separate commercial unit to deal with demand.”

He said the shop had an eclectic style, combining old and new, with decor predominantly inspired by the 1930s.

I love the era of the 1930s and 1940s, so it does have that kind of feel about it,” he said.

He said he wanted there to be a “cosy, comfortable” atmosphere, and that people could come in to try local wines and beers, as well to have a coffee and stock up on essentials.

He is currently applying for a premises licence from Norwich City Council so, down the line, people can enjoy a drink in-store, including St Giles Gin.

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