Ask what brought together the team that launched Fellpack – the Keswick eatery that defies classification – and it’s an unusual job spec. “You need to have a sense of sparkle,” says co-owner and manager Chris Gill.
Certainly there’s something very eye-catching about a place that has only been open 12 months, is gaining glowing online write-ups and received a rave review in May by The Guardian’s restaurant critic Grace Dent.
The idea for Fellpack was Manchester-based maths teacher John Butterfield’s.
“In the time I’ve been an adult, the Lake District has grown in coolness. It’s now seen as quite glamorous,” says John, 33, an Oxford graduate and former investment banker.
You’ll find him at Fellpack, waiting tables and setting mindboggling maths puzzles during weekends and holidays – he also teaches full-time at Manchester Grammar School.
John and his friends wanted to create a business that reflected what brought people like them to the Lakes – a love of being out in the landscape. So five of them – all in their early thirties – set up Fellpack, a café, bar, restaurant, gallery and fell-running club all rolled into one.
“There was an opportunity of coming along and doing something different,” says John.
This is why you won’t find scones (or chips) at Fellpack, where many cafés would consider them a must, and you will find walls adorned with running vests and fell top selfies, plus a tight menu of appealing dishes – think sweet potato and chick pea curry in the day time and slow-cooked Texas beef in the evenings – served in handmade local stoneware.
It was chef Paul Sanchez who breathed life into John and Chris’s idea – both describe him as “pivotal”.
The full version of this feature appeared in the July issue of Cumbria Life.