There has been something worrying me about Lantana 2.
Grease 2, Caddyshack 2, Revenge of the Nerds 2.
Sequels. They are generally rubbish. Insipid shadows of their predecessors.
Since we put the word out that we are opening a second café, our Lantana regulars have been incredibly encouraging and excited, wanting to know where it is, when it’s opening, how big it is, whether it will be in the same style, have the same menu, will any of the Lantana staff work there? There is a level of expectation and anticipation for our second cafe that I didn’t have with Lantana.
With Part 1 you have the advantage of surprise.
The second time around we all knew the shy bookish wallflower could be transformed into a hot babe with a leather jacket.
Something dawned on me when I was at the site of the new cafe last week watching the throngs of people pouring out of the Old Street underground. London is a city of 7 million people. Lantana is a café with 35 seats. Not exactly a box office blockbuster.
Lantana has its own unique character and identity because of its location, the regulars, its menu, the people who work there and the changes we’ve made to it over the three and a half years since it opened. Part 1 hasn't finished - its still running. Part 2 will have a whole new audience who might not have even seen the Original.
Maybe sequels are a bad metaphor. Its more like a series - Downtown Abbey, Masterchef, Mad Men. You can start watching at any point but there’s a little something extra for the returning audience who know that the Earl of Grantham should not be left alone with the female servants and that a chocolate fondant on Masterchef usually ends in tears.
Maybe it is actually just a cafe in a city with a lot of people who like to eat and drink coffee. Maybe. But I’m still not going to call it Lantana 2 and I'm not going to attempt a chocolate fondant.