Technically, this isn’t a teahouse but a café but I’m including it within my remit as of now. Basically, another independent café has bitten the dust. This was a few months ago but I have never got round to writing about it.
What I am talking about is the 90 Day Café, based in the Great Western Arcade of Birmingham. I managed to get to know the former owners a bit more during the last few weeks before they shut up. I grew very fond of the place due it its rather retro and mix-match decor yet pleasant and charming atmosphere. Also, the fact that they employed a very friendly workforce. I visited there at least a day a week.
When it first opened I did not dare enter. As you do, you are curious yet pensive. The first time I actually entered its hallowed doors was to hand in my CV to apply to be a waiter! I, of course, was not accepted but in hindsight if I was I would be probably running the place right now: not because I had planned to but because I would have been in such a position (knowing the business and accounts more and the people who worked there) to be able to make such an informed decision. More on this later.
Now, the café is rather quirky, if one might describe it as that. The menu of drinks are rather bog standard and pedestrian (basically, you average Italiana coffees and the odd milkshake) but the food is were it really kicks in. Cupcakes can be made to order. The hot food was amazing; Thai green curry, bacon (in various finishes from a local farm) sandwiches to die for (and I would say that they were the best I have ever tasted). It is a complete shame that I never managed to eat most of that was on offer as I thought it would still remain there.
The owners, Messers Chris and Tara, originally set up the café after their studies as an experiment and was meant to open for 90 days (hence its name). There was even a countdown stuck up to show the remaining days left of business. However, even before the 90 days were up, they enjoyed it so much that they decided to extend the lease and continue the business as it became a success.
However, during a drink there in near mid-September this year, an envelope was slid towards me by Ms Tara. In it contained a ticket plus one for a ‘closing lunch’ that would take place on the 23rd. It was at this point I realised that they were closing for good. Upon further enquiry, they told me that they had just received offers for university places (Mr Chris is doing a PhD and Ms Tara an MA) so had to close up in a week’s time!
In any case, I had an affection for the place. I had decided to give a farewell qin recital at the café (see previous post on this) as I had planned to do since June but now was forced to do it now. Other than this, I had another thought just pop into my mind: what if I took over the café? I proposed this to Ms Tara and she was game and a meeting was scheduled. Of course, for such a big opportunity that was thrown in front of me for once in my life, I decided to ask my family for opinions. They basically threw cold water over me and my plans. It was too risky. There was not enough time to scrutinize the paperwork and the accounts to see if the business was viable. It wasn’t a good time to go into catering, etc. These were the objects raised by my family and my peers. All this built up to the point that I had to backtrack. Without their support I could not go it alone.
Of course, I have since found out that the business was profitable and so, who knows what might have been? I’d probably not be here now trying to survive on benefits and have already paid off my debts and be in full time employment owning a successful business! It is, of course, presumptuous in the the extreme that that might have happened, for all know and tell how I am a failure in life. But alas, the story of the 90 Day Café and what could have been is the story of my life.
So we must now mourn yet another demise for another independent business in Birmingham. But there may yet be hope: they may return from their studies and like a phoenix from the flames, the 90 Day may arise again. We can only hope.