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One of the pioneers of the 'good green grup' revolution in the North East has been Eaglescliffe's Waiting Room restaurant.


The Eighties was the era of padded shoulders, yuppies and high-powered hair, a time when the concept of organic, locally-sourced vegetarian food was well and truly for the sandals brigade.


But two decades on and who’s laughing now?


Wholefood, organic and traceable are foodie buzzwords in the compassionate noughties. If it’s green it’s good.


One of the pioneers of the ‘good green grub’ revolution in the North East has been Eaglescliffe’s Waiting Room restaurant.


This wholefood haven celebrates its 20th birthday this month and there’s a quiet satisfaction that an ethos once perceived as slightly cranky has now been embraced by the masses and celebs alike, in fact becoming decidedly hip!


As well as offering a wide selection of vegetarian food and organic wines and beers, The Waiting Room, in Station Road, has become a destination in its own right for music, arts and exhibitions, hosting a hugely popular Sunday evening Waiting For Sunday live music session, nurturing new talent and been sought out by musicians and artists who have tapped in to the venue’s unique atmosphere.


The Waiting Room was opened in 1986 by Jenny Harding, then a passionate wholefood cook at home who had been part of a local wholefood co-operative of families who chipped in to buy bulk quantities of wholefood from a wholesaler.


She ran The Waiting Room as a café alongside a full-time job before it was fully established as a evening time restaurant. In 2003 her son Luke took over the restaurant and business has doubled over the past two years as people become more and more interested in the provenance of the food on their plate.


Organic is a buzzword. Bread and vegetables come from the Larchfield Community Farm near Stokesley and there’s now an award-winning selection of wines and beers available. Coffee and tea are organic and Fair Trade and earlier this year the restaurant became the first to be presented with an award for its Fair Trade policy by Stockton Council.


Chef Mark Ruddick is responsible for devising new and seasonal recipes. Menu favourites include  beetroot and sun-dried tomato tapenade served alongside asparagus and goat’s cheese roulade. Famous sesame roast potatoes are also one of the restaurant’s favourite dishes.


“There’s a real honesty about the food”, say Luke.

“It is fulsome and rustic in presentation and it would seem to be all of a sudden fashionable as much because society has moved in the direction of the Waiting Room ethos.

“That means the use of organic and genuine wholefood ingredients as well as understanding the power of the sweet potato!”




Luke Harding is available for interview about any issues related to  organic food and its rise in popularity. They are very well placed to talk about the changing attitudes to food over the decades.


Recipes from the Waiting Room are available for publication


A series of events have been organised to mark the 20th anniversary of The Waiting Room. The venue is also suitable for live broadcasts and Luke would welcome its use for tasting sessions etc.


See the website for details of exhibitions and Waiting for Sunday events




Luke Harding 07950 291029

The Waiting Room 01642 780465

9 Station Road, Eaglescliffe






Created by victoria
Last modified 23-08-2006 03:01 PM


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