Pollen 185 is now up for sale, with founder Jyoti Bindu announcing the move in a Facebook message to the restaurant’s followers.
The King William Road vegan/vegetarian restaurant has developed a loyal following in its three years on the strip, but Bindu tells The Adelaide Review that the pressures of working long hours in the face of high rents had made it untenable for her to continue.
Coming to the end of the initial three year lease, Bindu gratefully notes that the property’s landlord has reduced rent to a massive degree, but that she has little energy to keep the business going.
“I never ever thought I would want to sell Pollen because it’s so close to my heart but I’ve got to the stage where I’d prefer to walk away with some of the debt taken care of,” says Bindu. “I’m just so exhausted, and can’t put the love into it much longer… With this kind of business and food and my philosophy, if you’re not feeling all the love, you certainly should not be making food for people.”
Asked whether the catalyst for the business closing was what some might see as a niche focus on vegan and vegetarian food, Bindu says, “it’s absolutely not that at all.”
“The only reason this business can’t go on is because I’m past exhausted,” she says. “Most of my customers aren’t even vegos or vegans. They just love the food… There have been cafes on the street that have closed and they’ve all served meat, so I’m not closing because of what it is.”
While she is moving on, Bindu believes that Pollen 185 still has potential thanks to the large rent reduction, but says that she will be judicial in who she sells the business to, noting that “the rent is now such a good deal that you’d be silly not to take it just for the liquor license.”
“They’ll have to be pretty amazing,” continues Bindu. “Even if someone offered me four times the price and were complete fools I wouldn’t sell it to them.”
The recent growth in popularity of vegan and vegetarian cuisine leaves Bindu in a unique position for life after Pollen 185, too. Bindu is working occasionally with Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed, and is in talks with other establishments, potentially bringing her loyal following of food fans with her where ever she might end up.
“Most of the places I’ve been talking to are excited to have someone on board with all that knowledge because menus are just heading so much more into the vego/vegan world.”