Conversations (and Cake) with Ragamuffins

Posted: 25th January 2024

This week we are featuring our across-the-road favourites - it doesn’t get much better than being asked to interview Ragamuffins and call it work – sounds like an excuse to finally try the chocolate brownie to me! Ragamuffins came under new ownership in August, opening during Falmouth Week and we honestly can’t believe the huge change that has been brought about since Zoë took over the café. From the quality of the food to the friendliness and genuine care for the customers, Ragamuffins has transformed from a quaint café to a community hub (and Heather & Lay’s favourite hangout, you’ll find us there most days!). Read on to hear from Zoë about what makes Ragamuffins so special…



Hi Zoe, why don’t you start by telling us all about life pre-Ragamuffins?


I actually used to be in the corporate world working in very stressful, demanding positions, travelling a lot. I really wanted to be closer to home, to do something for us and to give back to the local community, for people to be happy and comfortable. When the café came up it was just perfect, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. I’m so much happier than I was when I was behind a desk. I gave up my career but taking on Ragamuffins was never about making lots of profit, I wanted something for me. I needed to show the community that we want them there and that nice food doesn’t need to cost a fortune.



So, what is Ragamuffins all about?


For me it’s about kindness and cake. About the daily talk, somewhere people can go that is comfortable yet affordable. I want people to know they can spend time with us if they are lonely. There’s a level of appreciation for a nice experience, there’s no apathy in what we do. How I feel about the business means that all the people who work with me feel it too. Not many places offer good value for money and good quality – we have as much homemade as we can and I try to make sure I have something for as many people as possible, no matter the dietary requirements. Almost everything on the menu can be tailored with lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options and the menu is constantly evolving. I listen to the customers and get them to vote and give me feedback on what they like or don’t to shape what we offer.



But what we are really about at the heart of it is community, like you guys at Heather & Lay, and we want to give back in some way as well. I’m passionate about supporting those in need and am starting a pay it forward initiative so that people can come in and donate or add a bit to their bill that will mean those without food or shelter can come in and purchase food and drink from that overflow. I recently gave a homeless guy a job to get him back on his feet again, the feel at Ragamuffins really is one of genuine care and support.



I have to say, your coffee is amazing. Can we know more about that?


Of course, the coffee is 100% Arabica, 1927 which is roasted in Cornwall. I don’t believe people should have to pay £5 for a cup of coffee. Our customers prefer our coffee to the chains, we keep our costs low and where possible pass this onto our customers. All our hot drinks are under £3 with an Americano only being £2 so you could come for coffee with a friend for under a fiver which is how I feel it should be to encourage people to come to the cafes and spend time in the town. I’ve been told our Caramel Latte is the best in Falmouth!



And what sort of food will I find at Ragamuffins?


We offer fresh homemade soups every day, sourdough toasties and different sandwiches on the sandwich specials. Our sandwiches are the cost of a bus fare, and we also have cakes and bakes with a number of our cakes being gluten free. We actively take suggestions from our customers of what they want to see on the menu, and we are always trialling new things (we just trialled Viennese fingers which were a hit!). We also buy local, our vegetables come from Germoe and Breage, seasonal vegetables from local producers and local farmers and our meat from Stithians. It all comes back to relationship – between us and the producers, and us and the people that visit Ragamuffins.



How many do you seat?


We currently seat 14 but we are closed for a refurb in January, so when we reopen on 5th February, we will be able to seat 20. We also hope to open the courtyard in the summer.



It’s always so busy at Ragamuffins, why is that?


We’ve done no marketing or advertising, we just make good food, serve good coffee and offer friendly service. I think that’s all you need. I used to be a development agent for Subway, and we had a 3 second rule for meet and greet, that has stayed with me, and warmth of welcome is one of my key focuses. We read our customers, reacting and responding to them, recognising when someone needs something. We have so many fantastic regulars, the feedback is always good. I’m so proud that I’ve done this.



Can you tell me something interesting or unknown about Ragamuffins?


Yes! One of my regulars is a lady in her 80’s, she used to help her grandma make pasties in the kitchen downstairs – how amazing is that? I love all the stories that exist and the personality of the café, it really does have its own identity.



And lastly, what do you want us to remember about Ragamuffins?


That we strive to offer consistency in all that we do but also variety, that we care about the community and want to support the homeless and those in need. That we are always here if you just need a drink, a chat and a friendly face. And lastly, that we love to make people happy, that really is the most important thing of all!



Wow, what a lovely interview with Zoë. Thank you, Zoë, and can I try that Caramel Latte? Now for the question you’re all wondering, as firm regulars at Ragamuffins, what do we recommend? Read on for our favourites (Zoë knows our orders by heart)



John – you can’t beat the chicken sandwich!


Ashley – it’s the Victoria Sponge for me, traditional and delicious


Barnaby – oh it’s a tough one as I like to try the specials


Jess – for me it’s always an oat milk cappuccino, best enjoyed at the office with Ragamuffins as our view! Not only that, there’s also a special week-day offer to receive a free donut with every takeaway coffee




You heard it here first – get to Ragamuffins for your coffee and complimentary donut and come and say hello to us at Heather & Lay (and bring us one too!) To find out more about Ragamuffins visit Ragamuffins_Cafe_Falmouth_No59 on Instagram

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