Rus­tic Route’s unique to Gra­ham­stown: from farm­ing to food

Grocott's Mail - - ECONOMIX - By AVIVA LERER

Gra­ham­stown’s new­est restau­rant, Rus­tic Route, opened its doors to the public on Wed­nes­day 23 Au­gust, and to date has gained pos­i­tive feed­back from of­fer­ing cus­tomers a pleas­ant out­door din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence unique to Gra­ham­stown.

The food mar­ket style restau­rant boasts seven food stalls and two bars, which com­bine with an open-air court­yard for pa­trons to com­plete the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Own­ers Chris and Mar­ian van Aardt de­cided to open their new fam­ily busi­ness af­ter identifying a niche in Gra­ham­stown’s din­ing mar­ket for unique and in­ti­mate restau- rant ex­pe­ri­ences.

They em­ploy a num­ber of strictly lo­cal en­trepreneurs that pro­vide dif­fer­ent food and bev­er­age of­fer­ings to cus­tomers daily, and then re­mu­ner­ate with com­mis­sions ac­cord­ing to of­fer­ings re­spec­tively. “Very few peo­ple can af­ford to start their own busi­ness,” says Mar­ian. “Rus­tic Route gives our peo­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn the ropes of run­ning a busi­ness.”

It was a sig­nif­i­cant ca­reer jump for Chris, who has made a liv­ing from farm­ing on a fam­ily farm in Seven Foun­tains for the past 30 years. “I wanted to get more in­volved with giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity, and be­ing in­volved,” he says, and af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lot of sim­i­lar style res­tau­rants in places such as Cape Town and Stel­len­bosch, he de­cided to bring the idea to Gra­ham­stown.

“Gra­ham­stown needed some­thing dif­fer­ent,” says Chris, “and so I de­cided to take the plunge and start up The Rus­tic Route.” The cou­ple pur­chased the prop­erty, lo­cated on the cor­ner of Scott’s Av­enue and New Street, in April of last year and be­gan ren­o­va­tions im­me­di­ately. In the for­ma­tive stage of the busi­ness, they’ve com­mit­ted to clos­ing when the last cus­tomers leave. We wel­come the Rus­tic Route, own­ers and staff to the Gra­ham­stown com­mu­nity!

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