Lanercost Tea Rooms has not only weathered the challenging post-pandemic era but also evolved and expanded what it offers.

After being open for only two and a half years, the business, near Brampton, is on a quest to provide top-notch dining.

Owner Stefano Calcioli, an Italian who has been a chef for most of his life, said it's about building a business on 'good foundations'. 

"We're constantly looking to improve from a customer's point of view," he said.

"We want to survive over the next decade on good foundations, good service, clean environment with a quality product at a reasonable price and hopefully the rest will follow."

News and Star: Lanercost Tea Rooms wins Best Cafe in the Cumbrian final of England's Business Awards.Lanercost Tea Rooms wins Best Cafe in the Cumbrian final of England's Business Awards. (Image: Social Media)

With many restaurants being forced to close after Covid, Stefano said the idea of taking on a cafe raised a few eyebrows. 

"Everyone said I was mad for taking on a catering business after Covid, but we went ahead anyway. 

"Since the business started making money, it's been reinvested to upgrade the place. We started as just a cafe, now it's a restaurant and a gift shop to go with it," he said. 

Notably however, the journey hasn't been free of its challenges. 

In December last year, a fire broke out in the boiler room causing a three-month closure. 

During that period, the kitchen underwent a complete refurb allowing for the cafe to evolve into a thriving restaurant, with head chef Robert Konkoly at the helm. 

News and Star: Italian-inspired menu at Lanercost TearoomsItalian-inspired menu at Lanercost Tearooms (Image: Social Media)

"We've been getting great reviews for the restaurant so far but it's an ongoing project. We started with a basic menu to generate trust, with plans to redevelop that in the coming months. 

"Always our target is to be the best we can be. If we're pushing for perfection, we'll always be good - that's kind of the philosophy we try and instil in the staff." 

One of the challenges facing Lanercost Tea Rooms, like much of the industry, is staffing, but they have sought to adopt a 'staff-friendly philosophy', taking good care of their employees so that they, in turn, look after the customers.

"We're always looking for staff, at the moment, a pizza chef or someone with experience and possibly front-of-house staff.

"At the moment, we're only open five days due to staff shortages but we're trying to get back to seven without putting pressure on the existing staff. 

"I want the foundations to be strong until we move onto the next project," Stefano said.

In addition to their expanding service, Lanercost Tea Rooms plans to offer coffee roasting workshops in around six weeks' time.