Launched in July 2019, Bentley’s is an independent family-run coffee shop based in the Parkway Centre in Coulby Newham.

We caught up with the team which includes Martin and Helen Smith, who run the business alongside Emily Bentley, and they gave us some top tips on the perfect picnic and where best to enjoy outdoor eating during the brilliant British summertime!

"We are firm believers that the summer months are all about spending quality time with family or friends, and a picnic in one of Middlesbrough's lovely green spaces is just the ticket! By throwing a few things into a basket or carrier bag, getting out into the fresh air and enjoying eating alfresco, you’ve got an inexpensive great day out.

One thing we would really recommend is buying local produce for your picnic basket when possible rather than supermarket chains, as spending with local shops, cafes and restaurants has an amazingly positive effect on job opportunities and local suppliers in our area. 

At Bentley's, we use (the very amazing) T-cakes who supply our cakes and savouries, Rounton Coffee Roasters for our coffee and Storm for our speciality teas – all local to Boro and the Teesside area! 

Our entire menu is available to take away too, so if you don’t have the time to prepare a little smackerel of something, as Winnie the Pooh would say, then we'd love to see you in our coffee shop to give you a helping hand. We could prepare you a few sandwiches, slice of quiche or pie, scones (we can even provide you with jam and clotted cream to make them super indulgent) and cake for you to enjoy al fresco, with some juice to wash it down, or something warm to keep the chill at bay such as one of our flavoured coffees or indulgent hot chocolates.

Then the only hard part is choosing a spot to enjoy it all as there are so many #BrilliantlyBoro places nearby to choose from! You could head to Fairy Dell ( just over the road from the Parkway Centre) or Stewart Park, both of which have picnic benches and great areas for kids to play. There's also Albert Park or Hemlington Lake for a picnic-blanket-on-the-floor style trip out, or travel a little further afield to somewhere like Great Ayton and sit by the river and enjoy the ducks floating by whilst enjoying your sandwhiches. 

Of course, scones and strawberries are always a top summer favourite and a must-have for any picnic. We were recently treated to an incredible Wimbledon style strawberries and cream white chocolate cheesecake from T cakes –  it was simply delicious! It got us thinking about what flavours people prefer the most.

We thought chocolate cake would be the clear winner, but we were pleasantly suprised to discover that carrot cake was the people's top choice, followed closely by coffee and walnut – who'd have thought! 

We change our cakes, cheesecakes and sweet treats every week so there’s always something different to try such as lotus biscuit, bueno and lemon and unicorn cheesecakes, as well as chocolate, toffee and lemon cake – plus all the old favourites.

We hope you all have a wonderful summer enjoying plenty of picnics. We'd love to know where you've been –  pop in and let us know, we'll put the kettle on!"

From all at #TeamBentleys x 

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