Cork's coffee characters: Decade of coffees and treats in Regional Park 

Cork's coffee characters: Decade of coffees and treats in Regional Park 

A COFFEE stop that has stood the test of time is Cafe Chico in Ballincollig’s Regional Park.

FROM brothers to cousins and couples to father-daughter dynamics, it seems coffee in Cork is becoming a family affair and with the fine weather getting finer, The Echo checked in with some of the people behind Cork's coffee stroll culture, providing caffeine kicks and sweet treats.

A COFFEE stop that has stood the test of time is Cafe Chico in Ballincollig’s Regional Park.

Run by Margaret Long, the trailer has been a part of the park for the past decade, celebrating its ten-year anniversary this month.

Speaking to The Echo, Margaret explained how it all came about.

“I took early retirement from the bank and my husband sent me to Ballymaloe, where I did a lot of courses. I have a son in London and a daughter in Boston and visiting them, I noticed that there were coffee vans in parks all over London and Boston.” Margaret said she was visiting her son in London when they enquired with a van company and ended up extending their stay and ordering a van.

Cafe Chico is named after Margaret’s dog Chico, who sadly passed away last year.
Cafe Chico is named after Margaret’s dog Chico, who sadly passed away last year.

Cafe Chico is named after Margaret’s dog Chico, who sadly passed away last year.

At the start, Margaret said it was a hard slog. “We were making €50 a day a lot of days. People think it is an easy way of living, but it is 14-15 hour days. I do all the baking myself, they are long days.” 

Cafe Chico sells Cork Coffee Roasters coffee and Margaret’s home-baked treats.

which go down well with regulars and visitors.

“We have brownies, lemon cake, banana bread, fruit cake, cupcakes and Bakewell tart. There are favourites, some things are gone in half an hour! - and when it’s gone, it’s gone!” Margaret said the last year has been very challenging keeping up with the demand.

“Usually we are here four days a week and in the summer, we are here five days a week. Monday we clean up and Tuesday I bake.” Margaret said home baking is what has brought on the business so extensively.

“The baking is what made the business so successful, it sets us apart, everything is made with love.” We get a lot of compliments for the baking, people are always asking for full cakes.”

Margaret gets all sorts coming for a coffee and a cake.

“I know the locals, know the regulars, we get a lot of dog walkers, retired people, special needs groups with carers, mums and kids. Over the last year, we have been getting a lot of teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s."

Margaret, who is turning 60 in November, has no plans to stop selling coffees and cake any time soon. “Sometimes I think it’s a pity I don’t have family to help me but I have amazing staff, very long term.” 

Cafe Chico is open 10am to 4.30pm Thursday and Friday and 9.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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