I have been very interested of late about what is happening in my local area. Rather than always banging on about restaurants opening here, I’ve shared a few community initiatives over the last 6 months that I thought were great ideas, like the Neighbours Alive project in Gateshead and our local foodbank. Having grown up in the ‘Heed, I was familiar with The Elephant on the Tyne as a place I’d be taken as a child during the summer months for my Mum to enjoy a lager shandy. I even considered it as a wedding reception venue when I got married, but the least said about that the better (on both fronts!). It has changed hands a number of times since then, and was recently taken over by The St Camillus Care Group with the intention of turning it into a hub for people with disabilities and autism.
Having recently opened to the general public, The Vault – as it is now known – is home to an American-style diner serving up milkshakes and burgers prepared by staff who are gaining experience and training they may not have otherwise been able to participate in.
With a menu featuring American and English breakfasts, hot dogs and and other savoury classics like Macaroni Cheese, it is bound to appeal to local families. I can imagine the Teen will be keen to try out their Banana Split or Rocky Road Crunch, one of a number of desserts also present. The options on offer for vegans appear to be limited, with dairy and egg featuring in the majority of dishes. Hopefully in the future there may be more, especially if there’s demand.
Davy Duke’s – as it is officially called – has created both front of house and kitchen jobs to help young people that may not have normally been given the opportunity to develop the skills needed for a career in hospitality.
I ordered a Forget About It, a veggie patty topped with lettuce, cheese and tomato. Arriving in a diner-style plastic basket with proper chips, the food was filling and well prepared. Along with my soft drink the bill was a very reasonable £6. Considering a meal at any fast food chain would have probably cost around the same, I think supporting Davey Duke’s seems like a way better option!Their ethos of “We believe that everyone has a right to maximise their potential” appears to be lived out in this wonderfully kitsch diner. The soundtrack from Grease was the only thing missing to make it feel more authentic!
With takeaway available it gets very busy around lunchtime, so it’s worth making sure you aren’t in a rush. It’s great that there is already a huge interest in eating here, and long may this continue. The staff were lovely and friendly, and there’s definitely a sense of community spirit. A gentleman walked in just wanting a pint, thinking it was still a pub, but alcohol is not on offer at present. They do a mean range of milkshakes for £1.50 though, which guarantees a return with the Teen. Open until Monday to Friday 9 – 5pm, you can find out more about Davey Duke’s at The Vault here.
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