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Community / Museum cafe to reopen under new operators

New lease of life for museum outlet

Excited to be relocating Emma Louise's Coffee Shop to new premises at Hay's Dock are (left to right) Emma Louise Macdonald, Shetland Amenity Trust chairwoman Ruth Mackenzie and Joe Macdonald. Photo: SAT

A NEW cafe will open in Shetland Museum and Archives six months after Hay’s Dock Cafe Restaurant closed.

Partners Emma Louise and Joe Macdonald announced the opening of Emma Louise’s Coffee Shop in its new location at Hay’s Dock on Wednesday afternoon and plan to have it up and running next week.

Shetland Amenity Trust (SAT), which owns the building and funds the museum and archives, said it was delighted to announce the re-opening of the cafe.

The Macdonalds have signed an agreement with the trust to operate the cafe during museum opening hours for the next two years. They have moved the venture from its old home at 33 Commercial Road.

Emma Macdonald said: “It is exciting to be relocating our existing coffee shop business to Hay’s Dock and we have a lot of work to do to get ready. The museum is a great venue and we look forward to working with them to provide refreshments for visitors as well as to our existing customers who we hope will follow us to our new location.”

SAT chairwoman Ruth Mackenzie said: “We are really pleased to be working with Emma and Joe and to have the cafe back up and running in time for the summer season.

“We worked with them previously to provide a pop-up cafe in the museum over Up Helly Aa this year and it proved really popular. We are confident that we can work well together to provide a great experience for our customers, many of whom are regular visitors to the Shetland Museum and Archives.”

The museum moved over to summer opening hours this week and the cafe should be open as of Tuesday 7 May. Both the museum and cafe will be open seven days a week, on Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and on Sunday from 12 noon until 5pm.

The museum and archives cafe, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in May 2017, had garnered some mixed reviews in recent times, with accusations of slow service and poor organisation. It closed on 3 November last year with the loss of six jobs following continued losses.

There had been a slow start to the business of re-opening the cafe, with no bids from local interests when it first went out to tender in January.

But shortly after, three businesses had expressed interest after being contacted again by SAT.

Hay’s Dock opened in 2007 and was run by Hay’s Dock Cafe Restaurant Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shetland Amenity Trust. It featured on a list of UK eating establishments receiving the Good Food Award for 2015.