LOVENbakery (external link) is owned by Kate Allison and Fabrizio Interdonato. The bakery and café is open Tuesdays to Thursdays, 9.30am – 10pm; Fridays to Saturdays, 9.30am – 11pm; Sundays, 10am – 9.30pm. At the current time it is closed on Mondays.
Kate and Fabrizio started working together four years ago when they built a pizza oven in their back garden. This ‘pop up’ pizzeria proved such a success that they had soon established a pizzeria restaurant called LOVENpresents near Seven Sisters tube which is still going strong.
We met with the Kate and Fabrizio to find out more about their business and the Opportunity Investment Fund.
Why the name?
Kate: “It’s us playing around with the words ‘love’ and ‘oven’ and then there’s a play on ‘L’oven’. Ovens are a big part of what we do! When we first started out we actually built our own ovens. It’s quite interesting because you can build them using ‘fire bricks’ which are very expensive or find a building that’s at least 100 years old and take the bricks from there because in those days the bricks were so much better and retained heat fantastically well.”
Fabrizio: “We have a fantastic baker working for us called Enzo and he makes this traditional, Sicilian bread called Semolina Bread which I love. You can keep it for a while and it still tastes fresh. We serve it with everything throughout the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Kate: “I really like the people because they are all are so different, from such a variety of backgrounds. We’ve lived here now for the past eight years and everyone is very proud and excited about the future with the regeneration being a big part of that. We feel ourselves very much a part of the community so that’s why we wanted to open a community café/bakery. It’s also a great location that is good for transport links and has a really good vibe with lots of small businesses like ours being based around here.”
How did you hear about the Opportunity Investment Fund?
Kate: “We actually heard about the OIF a few years ago when we had our pop-up pizzeria in the back garden. We had started talking to Suzanne Johnson (the council’s head of area regeneration) but it wasn’t until last year that we actually applied for the money.”
What will the OIF money be used for?
Kate: “It’s been used to set up this space in Hale Village and the money has helped us buy equipment and furniture and important things like that. Without the OIF money it would have been difficult to set up LOVENbakery. Plus, in the near future, we will use some of the money to have a mobile pizza oven and delivery service. There’s just so much going on in our area and this will mean we’ll be able to attend many local events and make people fresh pizza direct from our mobile oven. It will be an amazing opportunity to be at the different community events and spread the word better about what we do.”
How have you found working with Haringey Council on the loan and wider business support?
Kate: “The application was really straightforward and the whole process has been fantastic. And the council was very good with the support it gave us. I would certainly recommend that other businesses apply to the council for OIF money because it was such a positive experience.”
Kate Allison: “We were approached by the Revd Andrew Williams to put forward a proposal for this space here at The Engine Room in Hale Village. The Engine Room is a community centre housing St Francis church, a nursery, and community rooms and they also wanted a café. At the time we had only just opened our restaurant in Norman Road and we were like, ‘We’re a pizzeria!’ but we quickly realised this was an opportunity we didn’t want to turn down.
“So we opened this café which is also a bakery and in the evening we turn the lights down and put candles on the table and it transforms into a restaurant with a quite different vibe. We have some fantastic chefs and bakers and we serve up breakfasts in the mornings; salads, sandwiches and soups etc at lunchtimes; and great meat and fish meals in the evening.
“But our unique selling point for being here is that we are a part of the community centre. We want to be able to let it grow with the community and be influenced by the community. We think of ourselves as very welcoming bringing together family, friends and neighbours. On our long list of things to do is that we can be a space for events and as an exhibition space for local painters or photographers to display their work.”