Refresh for national libraries and gallery cafes | Canberra Times

whats-on, food-and-wine, National Library, National Portrait Gallery, Bookplate cafe, Pollen cafe

Cafes at the National Library and the National Portrait Gallery are changing hands. The National Library says its popular cafe Bookplate will reopen soon as its current catering company Tracy Kelley appears to be consolidating and concentrating on running just one cafe, Pollen in the Botanical Gardens. The new catering business is nearing completion with Bookplate, which hopes to reopen later this month. It will still be called Bookplate, the name owned by the library. Ms Keely said her Poppy and Maude hospitality business had to make some changes in the wake of COVID lockdowns, and the decision to leave Bookplate had been purely financial. She had been running Bookplate for seven years and said it had been a “wonderful experience”. Mrs Keely will continue to run Pollen with her sons Nick and Matt, saying COVID had forced some difficult decisions, including consolidating her business. “It’s a decision that many hospitality companies have had to make,” Keely said. “At the end of the day, someone will go in there and do a great job because it’s such an incredible place, and the library is such a wonderful place to work. The staff has been nothing but supportive.” The Portrait Cafe at the National Portrait Gallery will also be closed for a number of days next week as The Fresh Collective takes over as new executives from Broadbean Catering and Events. READ MORE: The cafe will remain open until Monday at A pop-up will be in the gallery Tuesday and Wednesday to keep visitors caffeinated. A spokeswoman for the gallery said the new cafe events had been the subject of a rigorous bidding process. “There was a reasonable selection of interested parties with a wide range of operating styles and ideas. We stated in the tender specification that we wanted a modern operator, strong not only in features but also in the stylish and quality retail café,” a statement from the gallery read. The Sydney-based hospitality group The Fresh Collective will manage Portrait Cafe and be catering companies for on-site events. “They have extensive experience in a number of national cultural institutions across the country, providing unique food and value for money,” the gallery said. “NPG would like to acknowledge the unique service provided by Broadbean Catering and Events, which has served us so well for most of the last decade.” The library also wished the best for Mrs Keely, who will continue to develop Pollen in the Australian National Botanic Gardens as a cafe and venue for special events. Bookplate would always stay close to her heart. “Honestly, it’s been the most wonderful experience of my life, the last seven years,” she said. “Being able to work with my sons has been the jewel.” Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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