“When you go out for a steak and get fries? I hate that. I wanted to open a cafe that did proper homemade chips, like your grandma would make. Not ‘twice fried’, not ‘three times fried’.
“Your grandma never needed to fry them twice and neither do we.”
Sarah Padden has made no-nonsense, homemade food at Cafe 19 for eight years after moving from a smaller spot on Lower Warrengate opposite the Rainbow pub.
It’s all hands on deck through the week as pots of chilli bubble and bacon sizzles at the bustling city centre cafe on The Springs.
Sarah said: “It’s a job I love, I just love cooking and I love people. I wanted the cafe to be like sitting it your living room. I want people to be able to come in and feel like they’re at home.
“I wanted it to be like home away from home.
“I don’t know what else I would do if it wasn’t for this place.” As well as day to day trade Cafe 19 makes around 60 meals a week to be distributed to homeless people in the city. In 2016 Sarah was a named an unsung hero at the first Community Foundation for Wakefield District for her work with homeless people.
Cafe 19 also works with St George’s Community Centre at Lupset, St Catherine’s Church foodbank, Wakefield Community Awareness Programme, the Salvation Army and the Real Junk Food Project.
Sarah said: “I’m Wakefield born and bred and I’ve seen the city change in a lot of ways, some good ways and some bad ways.
“You see families struggling and you can help a bit my giving people a meal or even having an OAP special on the menu.”
Open: Cafe 19 is open 8am until 3pm Monday to Saturday.
Try: Everything is homemade and cooked each morning to take your pick from its range of cafe classics or dip into the healthy options, which have been a staple of Sarah’s menu since Cafe 19 opened. Sarah is also adding more vegan options to the menu as the diet becomes more popular.