IT’S the perfect way to get your coffee on the hoof.
Husband-and-wife team Ben and Jemma Gillespie have opened up what is understood to be the first ever cafe in Inverleith Park – and it operates out of a converted horse box.
The couple, who also own a police box in Marchmont that has been turned into a coffee stall, have spent around £15,000 doing up their unusual takeaway.
And with a range of delicious goods on the menu – from grilled sandwiches to cakes and artisan coffee – customers are sure to come galloping along.
Ben, 35, said the pair were inspired to set up the quirky offering after living in Stockbridge and seeing business potential in nearby Inverleith Park.
He said: “We had wanted to do something in the park for quite a long time. We’ve been going round the houses with the council for the best part of a year.”
After spotting a partly-converted horse box for sale in Newcastle, they snapped it up, drove it all the way back to Edinburgh – and proceeded to kit it out with all the essentials of a modern cafe.
The couple are now selling hundreds of cups of coffee a day from their base near the Botanic Garden as punters soak up the summer sunshine.
And they even have a hot chocolate named after the vintage box’s former occupant – a racehorse called Enzo.
“It remains to be seen what kind of trade we do in the winter, but we have the stalwarts like the dog walkers who are there pretty much every day,” Ben said.
Dubbed Out of the Box, the unconventional cafe is entirely self-sufficient and fully portable, meaning it can also be hired for weddings and other events. Ben said the box was already booked out for three weddings in August and September, adding: “People like the novelty factor of this sort of thing. It’s entirely mobile, we can go to wherever there’s a party going on.”
The new dad – whose wife, Jemma, gave birth just six weeks ago – spent ten years working for a recruitment company before deciding to strike out on his own shortly before turning 30.
He insisted being his own boss was a “liberating” experience, adding: “If I can help it, I will never work for anybody ever again. It’s great, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Everyone within the park is there to have a good time. It’s the nicest business we have ever run. Everyone is just really laid back and happy to be there.
“It’s amazing what you can get out of a small space if you’re creative with it.”
Local Green councillor Nigel Bagshaw said: “Local people have been clamouring for some sort of cafe service in the park for a long time, so I’m very pleased to see that this has come about now.”