>Theo's Coffee & Play, 380 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G4 9HT
0141 339 9171
Theo's cafe brings something unique to the West End cafe scene. A place with great food, fine coffee and where children are not only welcomed but recognised as little customers in their own right. Elspeth Gibson, saw the need in the West End of Glasgow for a place where parents and children could come along together to enjoy wholesome and attractive food in pleasant surroundings. After a bit of research - including bringing back ideas from L.A. - she knew exactly what she wanted to do; found the spot and the staff and opened Theo's.
With two young children of her own, Thurston and Theo (whose name has been lent to the enterprise) Elspeth had a fair idea what would go down well with mums and dads. Her experience working at Grassroots shop and restaurant, the Glasgow institution so much loved by discerning vegeterians, vegans and healthy diners, provided a useful background for Elspeth's own venture. By combining her experience and ideas she has created something very unique and Theo's is proving to be extremely popular with mums and dads, childminders and papas and grannies - not to mention the little uns.
There is much to praise at Theo's: the staff, Lorna and Ewan, are both mannerly and efficient; the coffee is quite wonderful - delicious Bei and Nannini; the panninis are superb; they have great cake - including Linsey's Lovely Cakes - and you can even treat yourself to some mighty popular gourmet chocolate by Dagoba (Theo's were the first to stock this in Glasgow). Apart from all the tasty treats - it's a cool place to hang out.
Not only is it a great spot to have some lunch whilst the children play, and a big hit with local childminders, but mums can have a great day out. They come in pairs and role swap - while one keeps an eye on the kids the other can check out the lovely shops nearby. There's also a chance that you'll carch sight of the glamourous and famous popping into Timorous Beasties, just beside Theo's, or investigating the wonderful Galletly and Tubbs, also on Great Western Road. The proximity of these interesting shops has significantly expanded Theo's clientele and alongside the families sit folks with some serious interior design in mind, students, local workers and tourists.
It's lovely to sit and sun yourself on their wide pavement on a fine day and in the evenings (Thursday through till Sunday - open till 8 p.m.) you can enjoy a hot supper dish and bring your own bottle. This is a new venture and Elspeth's aim is to provide:
'A place where the whole family can enjoy a night out - babies 'n all'. The response has been amazing and one happy family described it as 'magical' and 'a development that could put their babysitter's career in jeopardy'.
Elspeth told me about what is typically served:
'a lovely grilled aubergine chilli with our own fab guacamole and cheesy quesedillas on the side. Lorna's spicy chorizo stew, vegetarian and meaty curries and mediterranean pots au feu - simple pleasing seasonal dishes, plus side salads, are our house style.'
Another great idea for busy parents is Theo's Picnic Bags. Filled with the quality contents you'd expect... sandwich on organic bread, Roald Dahl fruit juice, a piece of fruit and a great big cupcake!
Not only has Theo's filled a big gap in the West End Eating Out Scene - they've brought a whole new concept to takeaways for summer days and those trips to the nearby Botanic Gardens or Kelvingrove Park look set to be even more fun.
Theo's Menu - including: Sandwiches, Brunch, Sweets, Sides and Kids' Menu.