No15 Cafe House: Preston's stand-out foodie haven
On a crisp November day in 1991, Macmillans Gift Shop was launched in Penwortham by Carolyn Cooper. It later relocated to larger premises at 11 Priory Lane after two years of growth and trading.
With the business continuing to thrive, Carolyn acquired the property next door in 1998 and a glass-roofed courtyard was built at the rear - linking the two premises together. Today, Macmillans is now recognised as one of the North West’s leading gift shops, stocking design-led gifts and home accessories.
“When the building next to my gift shop unexpectedly became available in 2013, we purchased it.” said Carolyn. “The idea behind the café was just the fact that coffee shops were becoming increasingly popular. We recognised that the addition of a Café House in the local area would be very welcome and much needed.”
“It took 18 months to refurbish it all - we literally gutted it and built it up from scratch inside.”
“I think the interior makes us stand out - we gained a lot of inspiration from coffee shops in London,” continued Carolyn. “We used to travel down visiting coffee shops, gathering ideas we could adapt for our own shop: what’s right in London wasn’t necessarily going to be right in Penwortham.”
“We had a vision: we definitely wanted something different,” said Carolyn. “And it’s a cafe/bar - we have an alcohol license - so we wanted to stand out and it does; No 15 was an immediate success.”
“They still queue up to this day!”
Offering a selection of stonking classics like fish finger butties or an indulgent club sandwich, one does not have to worry about leaving No15 Café with an undiminished appetite.
From creamy garlic mushrooms to crispy falafel with homemade hummus and a range of mouth-watering salads served with No 15’s house dressing both veggie and vegan options are also catered for - the cafe’s menu is a sight for hungry eyes.
After all, their English breakfast literally comes with the proviso that it is ‘for the hungry’, not for the faint-hearted!
It is known for its friendly and attentive staff as well as its quality food, using local suppliers wherever possible from the Artisan breadman, supplying delicious granary and sourdough bread, from Longton to Hutton Dairies and the Cumbrian based Carvetti Coffee Roasters.
“The cafe has evolved from lighter lunches to a more varied and extended menu including paninis and jacket potatoes,” said Helen Plant. “I really enjoy the work; it has a lovely atmosphere. “It’s great,” added Helen, who is from Penwortham and has known Carolyn since the early ‘90s. “We have a really good rapport with our customers and we’re pretty much busy all the time.
“We all feel invested in it and it’s grown so much from what it started as,” explained Helen, “We all take pride in what we do and everybody’s always looking to do the best for the cafe.”
Carolyn agrees wholeheartedly. “We’ve got a great team, it’s a really good mix - a great bunch.”
Five years since the café was opened, it remains a busy venue for breakfast and lunches as well as delicious afternoon teas, coffees and the homemade cakes made on the premises. No 15 has well and truly established itself as an integral part of Penwortham’s vibrant café culture.