Vegetarian restaurant stays open with new Kofra coffee bar next door

Owner River Green vegetarian cafe Chris Avey in Trowse, Norwich

Chris Avey, who runs the River Green Cafe in Trowse, has vowed to stay open and has taken the business off the market. - Credit: Archant

The owner of 'England's best vegetarian restaurant' in Norwich is no longer selling after letting space to independent coffee firm Kofra.

Chris Avey, who runs the River Green Cafe in The Street, Trowse, has let premises next door formerly used as a teaching kitchen to Kofra. The coffee bar is aiming to open what will be its fourth venue on April 2, initially for take-aways only in line with Covid restrictions. It will be operating completely separately from the River Green Cafe.

It comes as Mr Avey was planning to sell the Trowse business late last year for £60,000. He had originally wanted to relocate to the city centre, however, indicated at the time, his plans were on hold because of Covid.

Kofra coffee to open in Trowse, Norwich

The new Kofra coffee shop which is opening in Trowse on April 2. - Credit: Kofra

However, he has now confirmed the business is no longer on the market.

River Green cafe in Trowse, Norwich

The River Green cafe in Trowse is to stay open and is letting its former teaching kitchen premises to Kofra coffee. - Credit: Archant

Mr Avey, whose cafe was last year awarded the national title of Best Restaurant in the first Vegetarian and Vegan Awards, said: "I was looking for a business to sublet the teaching kitchen to which I have been unable to use due to Covid. Kofra was a good fit.

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"We're both in the middle of decorating and rearranging. The business is no longer on the market, I was just keeping the option open. But if we have learned anything this last year, it's to not plan, but be creative and flexible."

Mr Avey adapted to Covid by reducing his opening days to cut costs and over the past few months built up a successful takeway service. His recent Mother's Day lunch menu for click and collect was fully booked up.

Kofra has three stores in Norwich, and says it'ss proposition is what makes it successful. Picture:

One of Kofra's existing coffee bars. This image was taken before Covid restrictions. - Credit: Kofra

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Kofra originally opened seven years ago in Earlham Road, near to the Roman Catholic cathedral but relocated to Upper St Giles and expanded with other shops in Onley Street and Bell Road. It also has an in-house bakery which supplies its shops with freshly-baked cakes, pastries and doughnuts.

Agnesi Ida, operations manager, said; "We aren't part of River Green Cafe, we are just renting the space from them which is completely separate from the restaurant, next door.

"We are going to be opening initially for takeaways only on April 2 and then when restrictions allow, we will have outdoor seating. When the space came up, we were keen as we'd always admired the location in Trowse, it's beautiful. We like to open in neighbourhoods and there is such a community in Trowse. We've had so much support for staying open in Covid, being part of a community is very important to us."


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