A taste of Romania is a success in town

CHEERS: Left to right, Andrew McDonald, Eugen Olaru and Mihaela McDonald
CHEERS: Left to right, Andrew McDonald, Eugen Olaru and Mihaela McDonald

A CAFE which brought Romania to Hartlepool has celebrated its first birthday.

The Nip In Cafe, in Avenue Road, is run by manager Andrew McDonald, 49, along with his Romanian wife Mihaela, 37, and her brother Eugin Olaru, 39.

And while the cafe does a roaring trade in English fare, it also does food the true Romanian way.

Andrew explained: “We do a coffee Romanian-style which is as strong as you can get. It is good stuff and it is good for hangovers.

“We also do Romanian omelettes which are different from English ones. With the English version, you put all the ingredients in together.

“In Romania, they cook one side and flip it over. When the other side is cooking, they put the ingredients in.”

Mihaela originally set up the cafe in March last year. Andrew explained how it all started.

“Mihaela is a qualified staff nurse and pharmacist and works in the orthopaedics section of the hospital. She comes originally from Barlad in the north east of Romania.

“We have been married for seven years.

“She first came here on a visitor visa to see what it was like in the cardiac unit at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

“She came back to visit a friend who had a charity shop in Stockton and I met her. It took off from there.”

Mihaela got a job at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and, as the couple were looking for somewhere to start up a cafe, chose the town for the business.

Andrew, who has worked as a volunteer in a cafe before, is now the manager with Eugin as the chef and Mihaela helping on days when she is not working at the hospital.