Dani Wright, Graham Whughman and Katie Deakin pictured by Kirsty Edmonds behind GJ @ The Square bar.

Duston man starts up lifelong cafe dream with space for baby showers and weddings

After settling into his dream cafe, Graham's feet have not touched the ground

Friday, 28th February 2020, 4:21 pm

Graham Waughman, of Duston, has been in the catering business for 18 years.

After laying on buffets for almost two decades at weddings, wakes and parties Graham wanted to bring his outside catering all under one roof.

His first cafe, GJ @ The Square, opened at Duston Community Centre in January - selling nothing but homemade breakfasts, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and cakes made by his own fair hands.

The project, which has seen Graham take over the former parish council coffee bar, now gives him room to host 55 covers after a full refurbishment by him and his team of four, and they have not looked back.

He said: "I have lived in Duston all my life and a lot of people know me here.

"I thought it would be a perfect place to open a cafe and bistro and we are hoping we won't have to do as much outside catering as customers will have the option to have everything here all under one roof.

"We do private hire, I'm hoping to do baby showers, birthday parties and weddings as well."

The cafe, with a licensed bar, is situated right next to a function room, which has space for up to 120 guests.

"It's definitely getting busier and busier without a doubt," Graham added. "Half terms here are crazy... a lot of people can't get a seat in here and they queue to get in.

"We have a children's corner here, which is a big selling point for us as children and their parents or guardians come in here after a trip to the library."

Working in partnership with Northampton College, Graham is hoping his venue will be a place to host mental health cafes in the future, too, after experiencing depression himself.

"We always wanted people to come here to improve their mindfulness and wellbeing. I had quite bad depression a few years ago - it was a hard time for me. If I did not have great health and support I probably would not be here today. I worked really hard, seven days a week, and one day I just woke up and crashed.

"Now, I have contacted the college and we are going to do mental health awareness days."

Graham fell into catering by accident after he helping out with the odd buffet once-upon-a-time.

After a stint training at college he started working at hotels and restaurants and catering soon became a passion of his.

Graham's vision for his cafe doesn't just stop during 9am-3pm Tuesday to Friday - he is also selling tickets to his foodie events, with live music.

"We do themed nights once a month," he added.

"We did an Indian night in January, this month we are hosting a tapas night and an Italian the following month in March.

"We have live entertainment, too. It sells out on the day we advertise."

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