New vegetarian café in Sheffield has principle of generosity

Dayavajra pictured serving customer Margaret Caunce, at Dana Coffee House and Vegetarian cafe. Picture: Marie Caley NSTE Dana MC 5
Dayavajra pictured serving customer Margaret Caunce, at Dana Coffee House and Vegetarian cafe. Picture: Marie Caley NSTE Dana MC 5
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Another vegetarian café has sprung up in Sheffield - and it’s the first in the suburb of Crookes.

A group of friends from the Buddhist Centre in neighbouring Walkley have teamed up to open Dana, a café and coffee house launched through a crowdfunding appeal on Crookes high street, in a former estate agents at the corner of Toyne Street. All-day breakfasts with homemade vegan sausages, avocado and halloumi, as well as sourdough bread from the Welbeck Bakehouse in Worksop, are on the menu, along with bhaji plates, various sandwiches and cakes.

Dana Coffee House and Vegetarian cafe, Crookes, Sheffield. Picture: Marie Caley NSTE Dana MC 3

Dana Coffee House and Vegetarian cafe, Crookes, Sheffield. Picture: Marie Caley NSTE Dana MC 3

The word Dana means the Buddhist practice of generosity. Charity worker Jenny Owens, who opened the café just over two weeks ago alongside Martin Collins, Dayavajra, Grant Clerehugh and Rachel Littleford - who has since stepped back from her involvement - said the place was ‘very personal’ to the group.

“We have shared principles and a vision we want to live by and want to bring to the café,” said Jenny, who helped to set up the Woodland Coffee Stop in Ecclesall Woods several years ago.

Profits will go to the Walkley centre, and charities such as SAFAR in Crookes. The Buddhists previously raised money through a now-closed city centre shop, Evolution.

“We wanted another project to get our teeth into,” said Jenny, trained in coffee-making at Bragazzi’s on Abbeydale Road.

“We’re all really interested in catering, food and coffee. Dayavajra is passionate about tea, which is why we’ve got lots of loose leaf teas.”

Around £20,000 was needed to get the project off the ground. The necessary money came via donations, loans from individuals and organisations linked to the Buddhist centre.

“Another motivation was to bring a vegetarian café to Crookes,” Jenny continued.

“My sense is that vegetarianism, and veganism, is really on the rise in Sheffield.”

She cited Make No Bones and Burger Lols, both on Abbeydale Road, as successful destinations that have also appeared recently, but added: “I live in Nether Edge and they’re all over my side of town. People are saying they’ve been waiting for something like this in Crookes. We’ve got regular customers already after two weeks.”

Jenny said she hoped Dana showed the ordinariness of a non-meat diet. “We want to serve tasty, normal food that feels like a treat.”

n Dana is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm, and Sundays, 10am to 4pm. Call 0114 266 6708.