Former Hearts employee whose cafe was on the brink during lockdown scores top rating on tripadvisor

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A former Hearts catering manager who nearly shut his café during lockdown said he feels ‘amazing’ after it scored top rating on Tripadvisor.

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Michael Quinn, owner of Quinn's café, worked for years at Hearts FC and Scottish Rugby but then was made redundant after Covid-19 hit.

But the 44-year-old who has worked in hospitality since he was a teenager said losing his job was the push he needed to start up a new business.

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Michael in his kilt outside Quinn's cafe on West PortMichael in his kilt outside Quinn's cafe on West Port
Michael in his kilt outside Quinn's cafe on West Port

The traditional café on West Port is well-known for a hearty Scottish fry-up, but thanks to excellent reviews on the site, it’s now officially recognised as the best eatery in the capital.

Since it opened in August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, the café has bagged five-star ratings, netting top marks across the board for for food, service and value.

It beat competition from fine dining restaurants and popular chains, with 169 reviews for the café rated ‘excellent’ out of a total 171.

Mr Quinn, who previously owned a bakery in Wardieburn, said it was touch and go during lockdown, but they bounced back and he believes the secret to the success is creating a “homely feel”.

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He said: “Hearts and Scottish Rugby were brilliant, but the pandemic was the nudge I needed to get back to being my own boss. I had missed it, I just love being front of house and speaking to folk.”

"Since I opened the café it’s been steady. It started off strong, then Edinburgh was a ghost town during lockdown. We soldiered on, though I was having a hard time staying positive. My partner Tracy kept me going, and told me to chin up and give it longer.

"We stuck with it. She’s been my rock.

"Since we reopened in April last year, it picked up again and is going great. I've been in hospitality for many years, and still remember my first job as an apprentice at Storries on Leith Walk when I was 13. You get to know what people want. We have that homely feel. Even if it’s mega busy, I try to always take the time to give a warm welcome. People appreciate you taking the time to chat to them. I am usually doing it all, being the chef, waiter, dishwasher, but the priority is make customers happy. And the food is all made fresh.”

"It feels amazing to get the five-star rating on Tripadvisor. We’ve been at the top for a few months now, but I didn’t want to shout about it. I was all welled up when I saw what people said in their reviews.”

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One review on the site said: “Mike was rushed off his feet, but he was a great host and made us feel very welcome. Everything is cooked from fresh and it shows - we had a Scottish breakfast and and full breakfast, it was really tasty and well cooked.

"Mike explained all the items on the Scottish breakfast, which was helpful to my English husband. Would highly recommend.”

Many customers on the site praised the great service and helpful advice for tourists, while others said it was a “simple breakfast done well.”

Quinn's is open seven days a week from 8am-3pm.

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