Just over two years ago, in the spring of 2015, Jennifer and Robert Dunn opened Colchester’s first vegan café — The Den at Twenty Three. The response was huge.
They managed to show that a fully vegan café could not only survive but thrive. The bar had been set, and since their opening, veganism in Colchester has gone boom, with more plant-based cafes and businesses starting up all around the area.
After two successful years of establishing The Den as a must-stop spot on the Colchester foodie scene, the couple are venturing out with their brand new sister company TFI Vegan.
The food trailer will be launching at the Big Sunday event at Firstsite this weekend. Vegan Colchester caught up with Jen to find out all about the new venture.
Hi Jen, congratulations on the amazing success you’ve had with The Den and on the launch of your new business. Why are you launching TFI Vegan?
When we first started The Den, our mission was to not only provide the vegans of Colchester with somewhere to eat, but also show non-vegans that not all vegan food had to be the same, hopefully getting rid of some of the negative stereotypes along the way.
We now get people coming in and telling us that they went vegan because of us, which is so flattering to hear! Because of this, we feel like we achieved one of the major things we set out to achieve and it’s now time to branch out and continue with that mission in other places too. Especially places where there isn’t much around for vegans.
What does this mean for the future of The Den? We hope you’re not shutting up shop!
Absolutely not! The Den is here to stay. We’ve built up an amazing customer base and have so many lovely regulars that we will be keeping The Den around to continue serving the burgers, paninis and cakes that people know us for.
Because Colchester has such a large vegan community, I think that it’s important to have somewhere for those people to sit down and have a chat, coffee and cake with vegan friends. We wouldn’t want that to be gone.
So your plan is to take vegan food to the masses, what made you decide to launch in Colchester?
Colchester has always treated us really well and we felt like it was only right to let them see our new venture first!
Will the food on the trailer be similar to The Den?
We’re going to keep some of our Den classics and bestsellers which people love as we want to stick with our trademark comfort foods which are so popular, but are adding a few new twists to the menu!
Can you give us any examples of these twists?
One of the ones we’re most looking forward to showcasing is our new BBQ pulled ‘pork’ burger, which comes with a tasty apple slaw. It’s our new favourite burger and we think our customers will love it!
Thanks Jen and best of luck with the new business!
· Find TFI Vegan at Big Sunday at Firstsite from 11am this Sunday 2nd July
· Check out their Facebook to keep up to date with where they are and what they’re up to!