Theresa Ertl, a student at Lancaster University and a LESS volunteer, talks to Tricia from the Whaletail Café.
It takes some dedication to climb the stairs up to the old cheese warehouse off Penny Street, but what awaits you at the top is definitely worthwhile: Lancaster´s most established vegan and vegetarian Café. With local products from bread and cheese to fruit and vegetables, and seasonally inspired recipes and homemade cakes and confectionary, it is the place to be for vegetarians or vegans (and meat eaters!).
The owner Tricia, vegetarian herself, created the café with the idea to make a difference: “I feel strongly about the wellbeing of animal and human health, this is why we at the Whaletail Café try to inspire our meals with products that are local and fair for both humans and animals.” Tricia knows she can create awareness for these issues: “We have so many different people coming in and sometimes just by showing them how good vegetarian food can be I can make them think differently.”
All of the Whaletail’s vegetables are grown in or around Lancaster and Tricia is trying to support local vendors by buying produce from them. With more and more vegan recipes on offer, her frequent customer circle is steadily rising. But there is also lots of good quality food for people who are not vegetarian or vegan!
For Tricia her Café is more than a place to eat: “We are really a community here. I know most of my customers by name and many who came for example as students come now with their families.” This feeling of having created more than just a (fast) food place makes her so excited about her job and drives her every morning. And this model is more than successful: for over 22 years Tricia has been successful in running the Whaletail Café. Although from time to time she gets a joking comment about serving vegetarian food, she knows her customers are very open: “Once someone makes the effort to climb all those stairs to come up to the Café they must think it´s really worth it. And it is.”
At night Tricia has to do the washing up – the only thing she dislikes about her job. But knowing that the next day she will move a step closer to a better world, even this task goes smoothly.
If you feel hungry after reading this, go and try the new vegan cake recipes on offer at the Whaletail Café in downtown Lancaster!