Yo Yo’s in Leith wins Cafe of the Year

Cafe owners Paulina Kucharska and Ela Nowak celebrate. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Cafe owners Paulina Kucharska and Ela Nowak celebrate. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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A HOMELY coffee shop run by two best friends has been voted our Cafe of the Year.

Paulina Kucharska and Ella Nowak of Yo Yo’s in Leith had been delighted to make the shortlist but never expected to win the contest.

The hardworking duo have been serving their tasty homemade cakes and meals from the small cafe on Trafalgar Street for the last three years. But when they saw big names like Starbucks on Nicolson Street had made the final cut, their hopes of clinching the crown dwindled to the size of a coffee bean.

Paulina said: “I’m really surprised we have won. Both of us never thought we could win it because our coffee shop is small and it’s not in the city centre. When I saw we were up against places like Starbucks, I didn’t think we could pull it off.

“But we are both really proud and really happy. We have both worked so hard and I think we deserve it.”

From trendy to traditional, rustic to retro, readers were asked to vote for their favourite cafe or tea room. Some were swayed by a cafe’s fresh and innovative cuisine, fantastic full Scottish or freshly baked treats, while others were won over by selections of roasted coffee from around the world or exotic teas.

But Paulina believes it was the quality and range of their homemade food on offer in Yo Yo’s that tipped the competition in their favour.

The cafe sells a cakes, rolls and meals plus a selection of ‘specials’ which is changed every week. Their tasty creations and friendly manner has earned them a loyal customer base, with regulars voting for them in droves.

Paulina added: “I think many customers say we have a good homely atmosphere, good food and good service.”

Readers were invited to nominate their favourite cafe by returning coupon from in paper.

This led to creation of shortlist of around 30 entries followed by a second round of voting to determine the winner.

The runner up was Poddington’s Coffee House on Straiton Mains, Loanhead, while third place went to The Haven Cafe in Anchorfield.

Paulina, 30, and Ella, 35, who are both from Poland, met in London several years ago and moved to Scotland at the same time.

“We have known each other for the last eight years. But we both decided we were fed up with London,” said Paulina. “It was too big for us so we moved to Scotland and worked in the same restaurant in Biggar for five years.”

The pair hope expand their business, either moving to larger premises or opening another.