As part of The Galloway Gazette’s search for the Tearoom of the Year, I called into the Stir-It Coffee Shop situated at the west end of the town of Stranraer at 99 George Street.
A warm welcome was waiting for me from proprietor Beth Parker who has been running the popular cafe for nine years.
Beth concentrates on giving her customers a selection of tasty homemade treats, with locally sourced ingredients, beginning with morning coffee, though lunch to afternoon tea.
Her clients area mixture of shoppers, office workers, regular visitors and occasional tourists that drop in to the airy, spacious cafe to enjoy both the delicious fare on offer but also for the stunning views down Loch Ryan and across the road to the new hot talking point in Stranraer - Blind Johnnie’s monument.
Every day Beth makes fresh pots of homemade soup, Tuesday’s choices were parsnip and carrot or courgette and Camembert, and she admits to experimenting with some “off the wall” flavours to tickle the taste buds of her regulars.
There is also a variety of tasty sandwiches to go with your soup as well as a ‘platter of the day’ such as quiche or smoked mackerel and salad accompanied by crusty bread.
Toasted sandwiches and filled baguettes are also on the menu as well as baked potatoes and two choices of pasta. Salads are another speciality with couscous, chickpea and Waldorf salads made to order.
For those calling in for tea and coffee, Beth specialises in giving her customers a freshly made cafetiere of coffee, tailored to their individual tastes, be it strong Java, medium Mysore of a more mellow flavoured Mountain Mild or decaffeinated. She prides herself on remembering the preferences of those customers who come in for a caffeine fix when then are on holiday in the area.
To accompany these beverages, you have a sumptuous array of cakes including passion fruit, chocolate, chocolate Guinness, coffee, carrot, and, one of Beth specialities, a chocolate yoghurt cake, which she says is delicious warmed up. There is also Bakewell tart, fruit cake, tea loaf, gingerbread, and fluffy scones to tempt you as well as everyone’s favourite Cream O’ Galloway Ice Cream.
This summer, Beth is also doing the catering at the Beach Hut Cafe at Sands of Luce Holiday Park, Sandhead, where she will be providing breakfasts, soup and sandwiches lunches, coffees, teas and cakes.
Stir-It is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 3.30pm with sit-in or take-away options and free wifi.
Beth said: “I’m really happy here as it’s quieter than the bustle of the centre of the town.
“I have customers coming in daily, weekly or monthly or just on holiday.
“I have a loyalty card scheme and find people come back regularly once they have found us.
“It’s certainly the best place to sit with a cup of coffee and look at Blind Johnnie’s monument - and wonder!”