Cafe Grove’s longevity is rarely commented on but, for the past two decades, it has been a place to enjoy fantastic coffee and cakes, first rate Polish fare - standouts include the Gypsy pancakes and pierogi (boiled dumplings filled with pork, spinach, cream cheese or, in the summer, strawberries and blueberries) - plus indulge in some affordable art. Little wonder then that this neighbourhood gem is a favourite haunt of both Ealing’s Polish and art community.
If you’ve never stepped foot in Cafe Grove before - maybe your from Mars or something - expect an enthusiastic welcome from current proprietor, Janusz Chelminski.
Mr Chelminski was a regular at the cafe before buying it in 2000 from the previous Polish owners. Having come from the construction industry, Cafe Grove was Mr Chelminski’s first venture into the restaurant industry. “I used to come here, especially on Sundays. I liked the place and was curious,” says Mr Chelminski.
Mr Chelminski threw himself into Cafe Grove with characteristic gusto, even selling his successful construction company to concentrate on his multi faceted new project.
It’s a gamble that has paid off: the gallery stages around six exhibitions a year and has certainly opened doors career wise for the “mainly local artists, students, or photographers and painters from the Polish community.”
Photographer, Tim Robinson, who has nominated Janusz Chelminski in the Business Champion category of our Pride Awards agrees. “Janusz is very good at welcoming local artists into Cafe Grove and building up partnerships,” Tim - who has exhibited at Cafe Grove on several occasions - told the Ealing Gazette.
He continues: “Last time I was at Cafe Grove, I sold over £1,000 of photographs which is incredible in these tough times. Usually an artist can expect to sell around £300 worth of work. Our success is largely due to Janusz - he’s a very helpful, courageous and enterprising businessman.”
In addition to acting as a cafe and gallery, Cafe Grove also serves as a community space: the Ealing Cycle Campaign - the local branch of the London Cycling Campaign - meets at the venue on the first Wednesday of every month, while the NHS backed ‘Give up smoking’ group gathers at Cafe Grove at least once a week.
It’s clear that Mr Chelminski has, through Cafe Grove, made a vital contribution, to the local community and become an established part of Ealing’s food and art circuit - but he has always shied away from the spotlight himself.
Tim Robinson and Cafe Grove regulars hope that the 2014 Pride Awards will see Mr Chelminski take centre stage at last.