Gannets, Taste King and Chez Raphaël are some of the much-loved food and drink businesses in Laurencekirk, as is Alma.
But recently, I did some digging and found that the latter – a fine dining spot serving Indian cuisine – was the town’s only restaurant.
While it is clearly popular among locals, like the other stated venues, members of the Laurencekirk Area & Local Shops Facebook page want more.
By more, I’m referring to restaurants. More specifically, family-friendly restaurants.
‘I have been here for 27 years and I love the town, but it is lacking in so much,’ says member of the community
I recently asked the group what they like and dislike about the Laurencekirk food and drink scene, along with what they want to see added to it.
Without a doubt, a restaurant for families is the most in-demand idea.
“So it’s not great!” wrote a respondent (referring to the town’s food and drink scene as a whole).
“We really need something for the evenings and weekends which caters for food intolerances. Even some good home-style/pub type food.
“There are a couple of pubs in the village but as an outsider I’ve never felt very at home in any. None of them do food either.
“I know I was spoilt moving from Aberdeen but smaller villages nearby have more.”
Other than Alma, evening food options include Taste King (open daily from 4.30pm to 10pm) and Lournie Chipper (open daily from 5pm to 9pm). Both are takeaway only.
One group member said: “I have been here for 27 years now and I love the town, but it is lacking in so much.”
Another wrote: “Family-friendly pub grub is really what Laurencekirk needs.”
A bakery and a community café on the High Street serving light lunches and cakes were also raised as suggestions.
Do you agree?
What Laurencekirk food and drink business owners had to say…
The High Street is already home to a café, Gannets – run by husband and wife Aaron and Kirsty Neave.
It opened in April 2019 and serves breakfast, brunch and lunch with sandwiches, bagels, soups, home bakes and coffees on the menu.
While the opening hours are 9am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday, Gannets does serve evening meals on occasion.
“Gannets (hopefully) brings a little bit of something for everyone,” says Aaron.
“Whether that’s a meeting place for friends for a simple coffee, to a treat breakfast or lunch at the weekend, one of our evening openings and everything in between.”
In terms of his favourite aspect of the Laurencekirk food scene, the 37-year-old adores the local ingredients available and working alongside other businesses in the town.
But Aaron would love “somewhere to eat outside in the summer”.
He added: “Perhaps with your favourite tipple to wind down after a hard week.”
However, Allison Stewart of Cake by Alli-Baba says there is a lack of support and information in food standards for small businesses.
“Many small businesses can be overlooked,” adds Allison, who launched her company more than 12 years ago.
She has worked commercially in her Laurencekirk bakery for roughly seven years.
“It is sadly lacking. I’m proud of what I do, and I’m immensely thankful for my amazing customers who support me from near and far.”
Pub grub, a gap in the Laurencekirk market
The requests for a restaurant to open for evening meals with pub grub on the menu continued to flood in on my Facebook post.
Some respondents said they have no choice but to travel to Stonehaven and Brechin when dining out.
Restaurants in both neighbouring towns include Quayside Brechin, The Tolbooth, Gino’s and Tandoori Haven.
The journey from Laurencekirk to Stonehaven takes around 20 minutes, while Brechin is located 15 minutes away from the town.
One person wrote: “[We need] a good place to have an evening meal and good pub grub that doesn’t cost the earth.”