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Cafe 48 puts homely grub and community at heart of its ethos

Cafe 48, Pitmedden. From left, Linda Hay, Nicola Tough, cafe manager Tracy Gibb and Agnes Whyte.
Cafe 48, Pitmedden. From left, Linda Hay, Nicola Tough, cafe manager Tracy Gibb and Agnes Whyte.

Nestled in the village of Pitmedden is Cafe 48, a community cafe where laughter and warmth is always on the menu.

Managed by Tracy Gibb, Cafe 48 has had a bumpy journey with the pandemic over the last two years.

Receiving the keys just a day before lockdown was hugely unfortunate. But the cafe has overcome obstacles with restrictions to provide a space that Pitmedden’s community can now savour.

Range of dishes available at Cafe 48.

Homely grub is Cafe 48’s port of call: sandwiches, paninis, homemade soups and bakes are all popular choices, while regular specials and hot drinks go down a treat.

It’s currently open from Wednesdays to Saturdays and is regularly involved with activities and initiatives organised by Udny Community Trust.

For Tracy, Cafe 48 is so much more than just a place to come for a spot of lunch.

Cafe manager Tracy Gibb.

“It’s all about helping out with the community and seeing what the needs are here,” says Tracy.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘hub’ because the girls hate that! But it’s a bit like that.

“I really like the whole part of the community experience here.”

Hospitality experience

Tracy has a rich history working in hospitality across the north-east. The former owner of Delicious coffee shop in Ellon, she worked towards being a chef before studying hospitality management at Aberdeen College.

Her parents both owned a hotel when Tracy was younger and working around people is something that comes naturally to Tracy.

“Food and hospitality has always felt quite important (to me),” Tracy Gibb.

“My whole family is full of country folk, so food and hospitality has always felt quite important,” says Tracy.

“I just like the interaction with people and making sure they’re getting quality food and quality service. I enjoy making sure everything’s right!”

Pastures new

After achieving her ambition of owning her own coffee shop, Tracy decided that it was time for her to move on to pastures new after 13 years at Delicious.

Having lived in Pitmedden for over a decade, she soon found her next opportunity waiting on her doorstep.

“I like making sure that everybody’s happy,” Tracy Gibb.

“I quite like helping out and I’d already been volunteering in the local area helping out with Pitmedden Hall and the school building,” Tracy explains.

“Udny Community Trust was always something that appealed to me. So, when I found out the trust was taking over the old Linsmohr Hotel in Pitmedden, I went in, had a chat and they took me on board as cafe manager.”

Community ethos

After gaining £100,000 in funding from Scottish Land Fund, Udny Community Trust was able to realise a “long-held dream” to bring new life into the disused Linsmohr Hotel.

But with lockdown striking in March 2020, it wasn’t until November that same year when Cafe 48 could open its doors to its first customers.

Cheesecake at Cafe 48.

“The locals here had long mentioned that a community cafe would be great to have in Pitmedden, so that’s where the idea for it came,” says Tracy.

“All organised by volunteers and the trust’s board of directors, it was by July/August that opening plans started to take place then I came on board in September to start with the cafe.”

Cafe 48

Being the manager at Cafe 48 provided Tracy the chance to combine her hospitality experience with her passion for helping out in the community.

Over its stop-start 15-month tenure due to Covid-19 restrictions, Tracy explains that although it’s still early days, the community response to the cafe has been very positive.

“It’s gone from strength to strength and we’re making a name for ourselves,” she says.

Inside Cafe 48.

“We’re getting busier and I think people enjoy coming in for a blether with our friendly staff.

“Considering we opened during Covid-19, I think we’ve done really well.”

Tracy also adds that the cafe has a symbiotic relationship with Udny Community Trust and particularly with Yvonne McLeod, the trust’s development officer.

“The trust and the cafe work really closely with each other,” she says.

Cafe 48 hot chocolate.

“There’s community runs as well as health walks on Tuesdays. We do pre-school cafes which are great for young ones and mums – we’re just trying to build on things that are going on in the village.

“The building itself is used for quite a lot of things, but we’ve also recently opened our new Quarry room which works as an extension to the cafe if it’s really busy.”

Food and drink

Incorporating its community ethos, Cafe 48’s “country grub” options cater to many different dietary requirements.

“We do gluten-free and vegan options quite often,” says Tracy.

Cafe 48 New Yorker panini.

“Our paninis go down really well. Our New Yorker panini is really popular – that has BBQ sauce, bacon, chicken and cheese.

“There’s also larger dishes like fish and chips and chicken fillets which we tend to do as specials.

“Then we have our coffees and cakes which are all homemade by the bakers we have on the premises.

Home bakes at Cafe 48.

“There are also puddings like sticky toffee pudding – there’s lots of homely favourites.”

Cafe 48 also tailors some of its specials to walkers and cyclists exploring the local area.

“We do a walker special deal in the café for people coming in that have been out walking, as well as a cycling special. Stovies definitely go down a treat with these!” Tracy laughs.

Warming coffee.

Locally and ethically sourced ingredients are also a staple at Cafe 48, including bread from JG Ross bakers and Fairtrade sourced teas, coffees and sugars.

Heart of Pitmedden

But above all, what Tracy loves most about Cafe 48 is its people.

Opening its doors and providing hot food and water to people during storm Arwen last year highlighted its genuine care for the community.

It may not have been “plain sailing” battling through restrictions, but Tracy is keen for Cafe 48 to continue cementing its place at the heart of the Pitmedden community.

Scrumptious chocolate cupcake.

“Meeting so many different people and making sure that their needs are met – that’s what I enjoy,” says Tracy.

“Come time, we’d maybe like to arrange afternoon teas and funeral teas. But for now, we’re just looking to keep things going smoothly.

“Everyone is well looked after in a nice, pleasant environment. I like making sure that everybody’s happy.”

Cafe 48, Pitmedden.

A round of questions with Tracy Gibb of Cafe 48…

Favourite kind of cake?

Fudge cake.

If you were a drink, what would you be and why?

Pornstar Martini. Fruity with a bit of sparkle.

What’s in your drinks cabinet at home?

Tea and coffee! Alcohol-wise, it would have to be Prosecco.

Most unusual food you’ve ever tried?

Raw meat when I was in Lebanon. I didn’t enjoy that.

Marmite: love it or hate it?

Hate it.

Any secret tips of the cafe trade?

Always smile! I always say to the girls, “keep a smile like Mickey Mouse,” even though sometimes it can be hard days. Just be happy.

Best food and drink pairing?

My best food would have to be meatballs and tomato sauce. I’d pair that with a nice sparkling wine.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would be there with you?

My daughter, my phone and lots and lots of food. I’m more of an eater rather than a drinker.

You have to serve your favourite superhero or celebrity a drink. Who is it and what do you serve them?

I think it would be Julia Roberts – I’ve always wanted to meet her – and I would serve her something classy.

For more information visit Cafe 48 on Facebook