Shop of the Week - All diets catered for at Penelope’s in Dereham
- Credit: Ian Burt
With more and more people being diagnosed with food allergies and intolerances it can seem impossible for many to be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of eating out.
But one cafe in Dereham is doing everything it can to cater for all dietary requirements - which has led to it being nominated for our next Shop Of The Week.
We were contacted by Catherine Spencer who wanted to nominate Penelope's cafe on Norwich Street for our new series in the Times which aims to highlight small businesses, shops and cafes who go the extra mile for their customers.
She wrote: 'The owners of this lovely cafe were the first in Dereham to offer gluten-free options to my son who has coeliac disease.
'Although many establishments offer such options now, this is quite a new development, and many years ago we had nowhere to eat out together.
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'Penelope's staff have always been accommodating to us and most importantly we can trust them to serve my son food which won't make him seriously ill.
'Now my son is 13 he likes to go into town independently with friends sometimes. What is great is I know he can go and have something tasty and safe to eat there without me.
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'What's more Penelope's is the only eating establishment we know of in both Dereham and Norwich to serve gluten-free pancakes which happen to be my son's absolute favourite.
'This cafe deserves to be recognised.'
The cafe is run by Penny Griffiths, from Shipdham, who took it on just over three years ago from her previous employer.
'I worked for the previous owner when it was the Maple Tree,' she said. 'We did a little bit of gluten-free then but when I took over I found that lots more customers were asking about it so we started to do more.'
The gluten-free range now consists of everything from sandwiches to toasties, cakes to pancakes. She also has a range of dairy-free produce.
'We make everything fresh and it is just a case of using a different flour,' said Mrs Griffiths, whose two sons Jake and Dec Tinsley also work in the cafe.
'I've started doing some sugar-free cake as well as people are trying to cut back on their sugar intake more and more.'
She said the business was 'ticking over' nicely this year although felt Dereham was a bit quiet and all the shops were noticing a lack of footfall.
* If you would like to nominate a shop for our series email firstname.lastname@example.org.