Features / Cafe

Friska: stronger than ever 10 years on

By martin booth, Tuesday Dec 3, 2019

If you know, you know. The house bacon at Friska is such a sure-fire winning start to the day that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it on an election manifesto. It’s a crispy streaky bacon, fresh tomato and avocado toasted sandwich with sundried tomato mayo; and any day is made better with one at the start.

On a recent morning, however, I forewent my usual house bacon at the Harbourside branch to try a new breakfast burrito. This cafe is only a few hundred yards from my front door and I had been suckered in with my wife and two young daughters in tow as each order of the new burrito could be accompanied by a whack on a piñata hanging from the ceiling.


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For eight-year-old Mersina and five-year-old Lois, a few whacks with the promise of sugary delights inside was an even better start to their day than bacon and avocado; but unfortunately, despite some hefty hits, Juanita the piñata remained unbroken.

Friska celebrates its tenth birthday this month

Every cloud has a silver lining though and the breakfast burrito – baked chorizo, baked eggs, Mexican corn and black bean salsa, cheese, guacamole, sun dried tomato ketchup and spinach – set us all up nicely for the day ahead, with smoked tofu in place of the chorizo also given the thumbs up by my wife Jo.

It was just over a decade ago that Ed Brown and Griff Holland founded Friska on Victoria Street with a simple idea: “to open a place for breakfast, lunch and coffee which makes you feel great”. Since then, the pair have forged charity partnerships with Deki and Frank Water, and now have 11 stores across Bristol and Manchester, with another in Luton Airport.

Ed and Griff met while both students at Bath University. Prior to starting Friska, Ed was based in the SETsquared technology incubator, while Griff was business development manager at the Real Olive Co. and – like many in Bristol’s food and drink scene – had also worked for Boston Tea Party.

The coffee shop has seven branches in Bristol

In July 2017, the pair secured £3m of private equity investment that they hoped at the time would enable them to open more than ten Friska stores across the UK over the next three years. In June, Bristol’s newest Friska opened on the corner of Queen Square and Prince Street; with more in the city hopefully planned for the future.

There is something comforting about walking into your favourite Friska. And the thing about their cafes is that despite all retaining a feeling of individuality, they are also all reassuringly familiar – especially when you see the house bacon on the menu.

Friska cafes in Bristol are at Here on Bath Road, The Eye in Temple Quay, Prince Street, Victoria Street, Cathedral Walk in the Harbourside, Park Street and Bristol & Bath Science Park in Emersons Green

Read more: Friska open new city centre cafe

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