Vintage van cafe opens in Ranmore Common car park

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: September 07, 2014

By Jennifer Hardwick jennifer.hardwick@essnmedia.co.uk

  • CHEERS: The vintage van has been kitted out with facilities to offer energy boosts in the form of freshly brewed coffees

  • HAPPY CAMPERS: Customers enjoy a well-earned cuppa REGM20140829B-006_C Photos by Grant Melton

  • ENJOYING THE VIEW: Mrs Reid is enjoying working on Ranmore Common REGM20140829B-001_C

  • SERVING UP SMILES: Sheryl Reid serves some drinks in the coffee van REGM20140829B-003_C

  • WHEELY GOOD: The new mobile cafe has been attracting a lot of attention from passers-by REGM20140829B-009_C

  • VAN-TASTIC: Sheryl with her Renault H van REGM20140829B-007_C

  • CHEERS: The vintage van has been kitted out with facilities to offer energy boosts in the form of freshly brewed coffees

  • HAPPY CAMPERS: Customers enjoy a well-earned cuppa REGM20140829B-006_C Photos by Grant Melton

 Comments (0)WEARY walkers and wildlife-watchers have a new excuse to stop and take in the views on Ranmore Common.

Regular visitors to the Denbies Hillside car park may have noticed a vintage Citroen H van stationed there for long periods of time in recent weeks.

But the 1967 model is not simply in the ownership of a particularly enthusiastic rambler wanting to spend a lot of time on the North Downs – it’s a cunningly disguised refreshments counter.

Bookham resident Sheryl Reid is the proud proprietor of Cafe La Creme, offering freshly ground coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milkshakes and snacks from the converted vintage vehicle.

“At the end of last year I was made redundant from my job and I thought about what I really wanted to do,” said the 45-year-old, who lives in Little Bookham Street.

“I had seen a vintage van at a rowing regatta with my daughter and I just loved it. When I was thinking about what to do I kept thinking about that van so I did some research and I thought, ‘Let’s go for it and see what happens’.

“I found it and it’s just gone from there.”

Mrs Reid and her new business venture – affectionately known as Ci Ci – travel to events including shows, carnivals and fun days across the area, offering a variety of mobile refreshments.

But now she has been offered the regular pitch in the car park, opening for business Wednesday to Friday every week from 8am to 3pm.

The mum of three said she was very much enjoying the scenic background to her new regular workplace.

“I didn’t realise there was so much wildlife here,” she said.

“We have got butterfly walkers, horticultural societies and dog walkers. There is also a lot of passing trade between Dorking and Guildford so we get a lot of people on business as well.

“Everybody’s been really supportive and welcoming and they love the van as well.

“A lot of people come up just to ask me about it. I know I’m biased but it’s such a lovely van and it’s got such character to it that people want to know where it’s come from.”

Mrs Reid bakes all the goods on offer from the van, with the menu including tiffin, rocky road, shortbread and a variety of cakes, as well as sausage rolls and Cornish pasties.

She will continue with her regular visits to the car park until the end of October, and plans to return next spring to continue brightening up the days of common walkers.

“I know when I go for walks with my family if there’s a bit of cake at the end of the path it helps,” she added. “It can get you up the hill.”

From Sunday, September 24, Cafe La Creme will also be open at the car park on Sundays from 9am to 5pm.

For more information log on to www.facebook.com/classiccafelacreme