Six years and three iterations after it made its debut in a wooden shipping container “haphazardly built into a driveway” behind London Fields in Hackney, Dandy — the breezy Australian all-day cafe created by coffee and bakery wunderkinds Dan Wilson and Andrew Leitch — will close permanently.
Wilson posted to the restaurant’s Instagram account on 14 June with the news that Dandy, which most recently lived on Maltby Street in Bermondsey would not reopen, having closed in spring last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank you to everyone who supported us from the moment [Leitch] and [Gus Unger-Hamilton] and I opened in 2015 in a greenhouse haphazardly built into a driveway behind London fields. It’s been a great journey,” Wilson wrote.
Having developed something of a cult following and no shortage of kudos for its excellent ways with coffee, bread, and wine in the shadow of Climpson’s Arch, Dandy relocated from London Fields to Newington Green in 2017, taking the site that is now Jolene from the operators of Newington Table. Complications with investors, ownership, and creative direction meant that restaurant closed later that same year, and with it Leitch’s departure from the business (and, later, the country). Wilson then launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new restaurant in Bermondsey, after a couple of residencies in the capital, including at Spitalfields wine bar Crispin.
In November 2019, he opened the Maltby Street site with Matt Wells, an investor in Clapham-then-Bermondsey restaurant The Dairy. It had been trading for just five months when the pandemic brought down the shutters in the spring of 2020.
After taking to Instagram and Zoom as a home cook tutor, Wilson returned to Australia in April and is now cooking in Hobart.
“Thank you to our regulars and staff and friends and supporters who ate and drank and laughed and told stories at our tables over the last six years,” Wilson wrote. “Building Dandy was a joy. I’m sad to see it end.”
Disclosure: Eater London’s James Hansen worked at Dandy in Newington Green for two months in summer 2017, and also contributed a written perspective to the crowdfunding campaign for its Maltby Street restaurant. He has recused himself from coverage of Dandy. Original Dandy co-founder Andrew Leitch also contributed to Eater London during 2017 and 2018; he was not involved in this latest iteration of Dandy.