Tony McDonough meets NICK and KATHY VAN BREEMEN, directors of Moose Coffee
NICK VAN BREEMEN says he knows exactly the moment he and wife Kathy will have “made it” – when they open a Moose Coffee on Broadway in New York.
Through their Moose Coffee chain, the couple have brought the American and Canadian breakfast and brunch experience to Merseyside.
And such has been the success of the concept so far they are now looking to expand to other north of England locations.
At the moment, there are two outlets – Crosby and Liverpool city centre – with a third and fourth due to open in Liverpool’s Hope Street and Manchester next year.
The van Breemens originally opened a Moose along with other business partners in Oxton, Wirral, in 2006 but that relationship didn’t work out and the couple took the brand and relaunched it Crosby in 2008.
The Liverpool outlet followed two years ago.
Despite launching their business right the outset of one of the worst economic downturns in decades, the van Breemens had enough belief in their product to succeed.
“It was a bit scary,” said Kathy, “but I think we have ridden out the storm – we knew we were filling a gap in the market.
“We are a bit of a hybrid – we are not really a restaurant but more than just a cafè and that has appealed to people.”
That gap was the market for “eating out for breakfast” which has much more of a cultural hold in North America than it does here in the UK.
Nick said: “We have travelled in Canada and the US and we have seen what a big thing it is out there to go out for breakfast or brunch.
“Traditionally over here if you wanted to eat out for breakfast you had a choice between a greasy spoon or a McMuffin from McDonald’s.
“What they enjoy in America is a fantastic experience – people have business meetings over breakfast or just meet to socialise.”
A few years ago there was a trend in the UK to open 50s-style US diners on main roads – but the quality offered wasn’t high.
Nick added: “They were quite cheesy and what we have done here is introduce a bit of style and panache to the breakfast dining experience.”
The Moose menu offers the kind of dishes you would typically expect to find in an American diner – eggs benedict, pancakes waffles and milkshakes.
All the names have a twist – so eggs benedict is New York Moose and there is also a dish called Manolito, comprising tortillas, beans and eggs which pays homage to the classic TV Western series, The High Chaparral.
“We have gone way beyond just offering people bacon and eggs,” said Nick who boasts the quality of their product actually rivals and in some ways exceeds that found in American diners, hence his confident ambition to one day open a Moose outlet in the heart of New York.
“Everything we do is freshly-made. Something like hollandaise sauce, which many places might just buy in, we make that up ourselves in the kitchen.