The Gloucester Food Dock businesses on why the waterside is the perfect hub for customers

General Manager Kyla Hyett and Co-owner of Gloucester Food Dock Sarah Mansfield
-Credit: (Image: Will Luker)

At Gloucester Docks very close to Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet it is unlikely the have escaped your attention that a key building project has taken shape.

Gloucester Food Dock has seen many openings in the past year, a place where independent food and drink businesses get a unique community location beside the water.

From ice cream, brunch, coffee and a place to experience some beer, what makes the Food Dock a success and why have businesses decided to take the opportunity to open in the city?

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As an award-winning milk and gelato produced fresh on their farm at Elmore, Wholly Gelato opened their new venture at the Food Dock in November 2023. The Hobbs family have been doing what they do best for almost half a century in as Jenni Hobbs says, the opening of a new venue is perfect for the business.

"For us this needed to be Gloucester. We're certainly helping the city to be a foodie destination and the whole of the Food Dock is about supporting businesses like us to get a foothold and it's also a stunning location. This is about bringing local food from our farm and selling it well here," Jenni said.

Wholly Gelato and Hetty's Place at the Food Dock
Wholly Gelato and Hetty's Place at the Food Dock -Credit:Will Luker

Hetty’s Place is the evolution of both Hetty’s Tea Party & Hetty’s Kitchen, which began as a pop up tearoom by Gloucester's very own Henrietta Kitt. With a growing family and committed staff, opening at the Docks means a venue for brunch, coffee and food such as sarnies and award winning 'fudging delicious' brownies.

"Seeing how far we have come and to get a prime location here does feel like a big achievement, Hetty said. It's a beautiful and historic setting and Gloucester may not be an obvious location for homemade food businesses but I feel why can't we do this here! I'm delighted to be here and it is great to have small businesses thriving."

Selling ethically sourced, specialty coffee from farms across the globe plus great pastries from The Artisan Baker is Scandinavian Coffee Pod. With a base expanding from Cheltenham, having a second venue at the Food Dock "has been great for us, manager Nathan Pallett said. What the venue offers here is an area where a community can be built. We see lots of families and friends coming here and that is something that struck us as a good idea to be here."

Last but not least is a visit to the Hop Kettle, where brewery founder Tom Gee has over two decades of experience in hospitality and knowledge of the drinks industry. Expanding the business from its original base in Swindon and Cricklade over the county border in Wiltshire, Tom said: "We've always been looking for new sites and after being approached we thought maybe Cheltenham might be better but looking at the Docks this is exciting and dynamic. The water is a draw, the demographic is great and there has to be an interest in making Gloucester as this is filling a little gap in the city."

Scandinavian Coffee Pod and Hop Kettle at the Food Dock
Scandinavian Coffee Pod and Hop Kettle at the Food Dock -Credit:Will Luker

Five more openings are still to come at the Food Dock say General Manager Kyla Hyett alongside co-owners Sarah Mansfield and Ken Elliott.

"We connect so close to the Quays plus the city centre because we want to connect with the whole of Gloucester. The city centre and the docks compliment each other and for new businesses interested we say do give us a go," Kyla said.

Sarah said: "We're very pleased and businesses are trading very well. We have a variety of offers here and given how well the place is working we are comfortable for businesses to gradually open. They have certainly filled the gap in Gloucester's independent food offers and there is so much going on in the city and the businesses here do shout about Gloucestershire."