Discover the Liverpool cafe creating fantastic food collabs in the suburbs
4 months ago
Neighbourhood bistro has become a south Liverpool institution since Lynne and Adrian Webb moved back from the States to open their family-run café 20 years ago.
The secret of their lasting success in a tough hospitality industry has been not just to create a welcoming atmosphere, but to keep trying new ideas.
That’s why, when she’s not busy front of house, Lynne is out and about across the city trying to find talent to showcase.
Pop-ups and collabs with chefs and bakers have become a big attraction at Neighbourhood so it’s something customers obviously love.
“We’ve always been prepared to try things and take risks because that’s how you grow,” says Lynne. “Part of that is not keeping what we do to ourselves, but collaborating with other people doing things we like.
“There are so many talented people in Liverpool and I just want to embrace that as much as we can, so I’m always on the lookout at places like Granby Street Market.
“We have a generation coming through now who really know their stuff, and they’ve got loads of energy, so I’m saying, ‘come to the suburbs’ and they are.”
Neighbourhood’s current monthly kitchen takeovers are with Dough Bros pizza makers from Wirral and the Dungaree Baker, who Lynne first spotted on a stall at Granby Street. Previous ones have included Desserts by Dre who they first started working with during lockdown.
They’re also teaming up with Liverpool chef Sean Miller, who’s known for restaurants including The Side Door and Pruno, on a Sunday roast menu.
“The response to our collabs has been great and I think that’s because people are looking for new things to do, to be a bit more adventurous. It gives our customers something different that they can excited about and everyone has been really supportive – somebody actually brought their whole gym, 40 people, to a pizza night!”
Seeing the whole community come together was the main reason why the couple decided to open the bistro.
“We were living in Boston when Adrian’s mum and sister, who originally had Pod on Allerton Road, said they found this little location which they thought we’d like. We came home to open up Neighbourhood which was originally meant to be a bookshop because I love being around and talking about books.
“Our business plan changed so it became Adrian in the kitchen and me front of house, and it’s stayed that way ever since.
“We called it Neighbourhood because when we were in Boston there were so many different neighbourhoods in every area. We didn’t know until we got here that everyone knows each other or wants to know each other and that’s what it’s all about really.
“We’re known for our breakfasts and lunches, especially the homemade pancakes and grilled cheese, but Neighbourhood’s also a home from home where people come in for a chat and a coffee. We were the first to be dog-friendly and we just try and make it a comfortable place for everyone whether you’re a gran or a new mum taking your baby out for the first time.”
That sense of community was strengthened even more during the pandemic when the café became a grocery store, supplying fruit and veg boxes, and joining up with florists Flowerbug to bring a bit of happiness to people in a time of stress.
“We asked customers to nominate someone, and we’d go round with flowers, a slice of cake and a cup of tea, so people were calling up about their mum on their own and we’d just turn up. You never get a chance to do things like that when you’re busy so it was just a nice way to stay in touch.
“That’s what the kitchen takeovers are about too – connecting people. We get a really nice mix in here, everyone from every walk of life, all having breakfast together or lunch together, which really sums up what Neighbourhood was meant to be.”