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New cafe opens in prime city centre space

A NEW cafe has opened in one of the city centre’s most stunning locations.

The Rooftop Cafe is on the top floor of Kala Sangam arts centre, overlooking Bradford Cathedral and Little Germany.

The business is run by James Heselgrave, who has had a role in a number of other food businesses in the area, including catering for big organisations.

It has been set up in an area previously used by Foodworks, a charity that provided catering, training and employment opportunities to people with learning difficulties. After funding cutbacks, Foodworks closed its doors at the end of August, and Ajit Singh, chief executive for Kala Sangam, and Steve O’Connell, the charity’s sales executive, asked Mr Heselgrave if he would be willing to open up a cafe business in the location.

After a refurbishment The Rooftop Cafe opened last month, and Mr Heselgrave told the Telegraph & Argus that the business had been getting positive feedback so far.

It is the first time the area, which has capacity for around 140 people, has been used as a commercial business.

He said: “We have been doing well, I’m really happy with how things have been going.

“Everyone has been really supportive, the Cathedral have been great. All the independent businesses have been really helpful too. A lot of us are friends with each other.

“We use fresh food and we try to shop locally as often as possible. I get a lot of ingredients from St John’s Market, and I get the cakes from Just Desserts in Shipley.

“It is important to keep everything local and fresh, it means what you serve has a provenance to it.”

He feels that despite the arrival of The Broadway shopping centre and its big-name food chains, there is a resurgence in Bradford’s independent eateries and bars.

He said: “Places like North Parade are fantastic. Despite the big boys, there are a lot of little boys in the city that are doing better than they were a few years ago. A lot of these businesses are thriving. I think we should big up Bradford, I support them and I’d hope they support me.

“Kala Sangam have been incredibly supportive of me as an independent business. It is a great relationship, more of this needs to be happening. As an independent business with limited resources it is very important to have those relationships.”

“I think the outdoor terrace is going to be an enormous draw in the spring and summer.

So far the menu includes full English breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers and nachos among other staple cafe foods.

There are also wine-tasting events planned.

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Mr O’Connell said: “We’re looking to re-shape what Kala Sangam is about to reflect Bradford’s diverse communities. We want to get more people to come here to enjoy different types of arts and make it the place to come. We wanted a business like this here, because when Foodworks closed we thought it would be a shame not to have a cafe on the site. It is such a fantastic space, right in the centre of Bradford, it would be a shame not to use it.”

The cafe is open on Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm, with plans to open on weekends in the near future. It will also be open during next weekend’s WOW Festival in the arts centre.

It is also taking bookings for Christmas parties.

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