Last month, the Cambridge public and experts were asked to vote for the shop offering the best service on Mill Road. Judges scored on first impressions, prompt and timely service, specialist knowledge, local area expertise, going the extra mile and overall shopping experience.
The Garden Kitchen – an offshoot from the Botanic Garden’s Garden Café – emerged as the clear winner, scoring ‘excellent’ in each area with the judges, as well as gaining the most public votes on Twitter.
Run by Andrew Smith, The Garden Kitchen opened last spring to offer freshly prepared, tasty food for people on the go, with a focus on imaginative salads, falafel and other lunchables, brownies and home-made cakes. Breakfast fare includes healthy granola or fruit salad, plus indulgent home-made pastries.Their self-service salad bar is a fun twist and part of their buffet style approach. There are great gluten-free and veggie options available too.
The runner-up was independent wine shop Cambridge Vinopolis.
The Mill Road Shop Awards emerged from a community suggestion as a means of recognising the area’s unique independent businesses. Each year, the Mill Road Traders’ Association, chaired by Piero D’Angelico, arranges the Pride of Mill Road shop award.
Last year’s competition saw traders vie for the best shop front award – won jointly by Urban Larder and Hillary’s Greengrocer. The panel of judges included John Lewis’s visual merchandising team and the City Council’s Design and Conservation officer. A public vote was held on local radio station Cambridge 105 FM.
Says Ceri Ann Littlechild, Mill Road co-ordinator: “The Mill Road Shop Award is an opportunity to publicly celebrate the success of a local business which goes the extra mile.
“Running a successful small business is very hard work and I’m really pleased to be able to give the Pride of Mill Road certificate out each year to somebody to show that their efforts are recognised. The Garden Kitchen is a fantastic addition to Mill Road both in terms of the quality of the food and service, so I think the certificate is really well deserved. Well done to Andrew and the team.”