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New spots open on Joburg’s Bolton corner

What has been called the greatest corner in Joburg has gotten even lovelier lately with three fresh spots opening in the last few months. While lockdown restrictions were tough on the restaurant industry, the owners of Morning Glory, Vintage Coffee and Buns Out are feeling positive about their new ventures.

The vibrant intersection of Bolton Road and Jan Smuts Avenue on the border between Rosebank and Parkwood has long been a go-to strip for a good meal or a nice night out. ”It’s quite a node of activity with a lot of cool things happening,” says co-owner of Buns Out Thomas Savage.

 

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The brand, whose other co-owner is Maps Maponyane, has been named one of the world’s best burger joints. It opened its second restaurant in October in the spot on Bolton that was home to Publik Wine Bar.

Just around the corner, the small and pretty Morning Glory is hard to miss with its pastel-pink facade. From the name to the decor, co-founder Chad Paul says he knew from the start that he wanted the space to be special and “Instagram-mable”. “It’s fun, it’s naughty, and people are not going to forget it.”

The spot started as a coffee offering, but quickly expanded into food, such as their sweet prosciutto salad with grilled stone fruits, mint and blue cheese. “We’re now a really cool brunch and lunch spot with really good coffee,” says Chad.

 

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Up the road, and a little hidden in the Parks Shopping Centre, is Vintage Coffee’s newest spot, which offers breakfasts, lunches and some boutique alcohol alongside the brand’s signature roasts. Co-founder Kevin Clark says: “The space is great from the point of view that it’s a bit like going into a European alley for a drink – it’s hidden and peaceful.”

While these recent openings are bringing something fresh to the area, starting or expanding a venture can be difficult. “I’m not sure there is any benefit opening anything in lockdown, but if we can survive, the prospects are great,” says Kevin. He explains that the pressure to survive is significant but that building a business during tough times can make it better.

 

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Thomas explains that it is their brand philosophy to create an environment where their staff can grow into stronger positions in the hospitality industry and see it as “more than just a stop-gap job between something and something else”. This is part of what motivated them to seek new opportunities after their Linden branch was able to reopen in May in a limited way. This led to the Rosebank restaurant and Thomas says they are already exploring further expansion.

For the Morning Glory team, a joint venture had long been a dream. During the pandemic, one of the co-founders, who also runs an architectural practice, found his staff was working well remotely and wanted to downscale office space. Thus a smaller space was rented on Bolton, with an area at the front that would become the coffee shop.

While lockdown has brought about a fair share of casualties when it comes to restaurants and coffee shops, some places are seeing new opportunities they have been hoping for. The corner of Bolton is evolving thanks to this.

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