In Conversation With: The Haberdashery, Stoke Newington
Countryside caught up with Massimo Bergamin, the co-founder of The Haberdashery café in Stoke Newington. An award-winning café that is located within walking distance of Quartet, our North London development.
What inspired you to set up The Haberdashery?
I was on a night out about 12 years ago, with my now business partner, Gregor, and we decided then and there we wanted to start our own business. I had previously been in hospitality and catering, and Gregor was in finance, so it was the perfect combination. We opened our first café in Crouch End, and then six years ago we opened the Stoke Newington branch.
We specialise in serving brunch and lunch, with light and hearty breakfasts, along with homemade sandwiches, salads, and mains like Salmon and Mackerel fishcakes and free-range chicken schnitzel. Then in the evenings, we open up our space to events, like supper clubs, cinema nights and parties. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do any of these since lockdown.
Since we started, Gregor and I have remained very hands-on, and we still work in both the cafes daily.
Why did you call it The Haberdashery?
It’s a funny story actually. We were stuck on finding a name and looking everywhere for inspiration, and then one day, I was walking to work and saw a restaurant called ‘Sartoria’, which means ‘The Tailor Shop’ in Italian. I thought it was really interesting to use a name that had no relation to what was actually being sold. So, The Haberdashery stuck.
Why did you choose this part of London?
Stoke Newington ticked a lot of boxes for us, just like Crouch End did. Both areas, like Clapton, offer something different; when people come here, they are getting to know the real London. It’s a really exciting area with so much going on, in terms of the arts, food and drink, whilst also offering a real community feel.
The sense of community is strong and the majority of all our customers are local to the area. We have the occasional tourist who is staying in an Airbnb. But, it's not your normal tourist hotspot. This makes it a hidden gem as people who come here are looking for something different and unusual.
What’s your lockdown experience been like?
It was heart breaking to have to close our doors back in March, Gregor and I have invested all our own money into the café, it is our baby. So, having to shut our doors and not see our staff and customers was really difficult. The reopening has been bittersweet; it is so nice to be back to some sort of normality but difficult not operating our café as usual, with our evening events all having to be stopped. It has, however, been really nice to see our regular customers again and get back to doing what we love!