Café ELLE, a new boutique hospitality concept jointly developed by ELLE magazine and design consultancy Whitney Robinson International, is the latest luxury brand to launch at the premier Via Riyadh shopping centre
Café ELLE is the first project from ELLE Magazine and Whitney Robinson | Photo credit: Whitney Robinson International
Café ELLE, a new boutique hospitality concept developed by ELLE magazine and Whitney Robinson International, has opened its first outlet in Saudi Arabia.
Opened at the Via Riyadh shopping centre, Café ELLE is the first project of a partnership between the French fashion magazine and former Elle Décor Editor-in-Chief Whitney Robinson, who holds the license for the boutique café brand via his design consultancy Whitney Robinson International.
Robinson, who also worked with US fashion house Ralph Lauren to launch Ralph’s Coffee in the Middle East, told Women Wear Daily that there has been ‘meteoric interest in Western brands’ in Saudi Arabia in recent years.
Café ELLE offers an espresso-based beverage menu alongside a ‘specialty’ range, featuring matcha, beetroot and rose-infused lattes and cappuccinos. The wider menu includes breakfast, bakery and cocktail options.
Via Riyadh also hosts LA-based café chain Joan's on Third, French café and restaurant brand Les Deux Magots and UK-based specialty coffee chain Over Under.
“One of my dreams while I was Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Décor was to create cafés and hotels under the ELLE Magazine brand, places that empowered interior designers, fashion designers, chefs, and artists with the same ethos of discovery that has characterized ELLE Magazine since it was founded in 1945. Over the last three years, I got the chance to make that dream come true. I am so proud to introduce Café ELLE, the first of what will be a new universe of fashion-inspired restaurants and co-working spaces that think locally — sourcing recipes, ingredients, uniforms, and decor from the city they are in — but act globally, tapping into the editorial spirit of a network of 80 editions of ELLE & ELLE Decoration in 80 countries,” Robinson said.
Whitney Robinson International and ELLE Magazine plan to expand via premium cafés and hotel projects across the Middle East and the Americas, with a second Café ELLE set to open in Doha, Qatar. No timeframe has yet been disclosed.
Boosted by one of the world’s fastest growing developed economies, World Coffee Portal research shows Saudi Arabia’s branded coffee shop market grew 18.5% last year to exceed 3,550 outlets, making it by far the largest in the Middle East.
Indicating rising consumer appetite for boutique coffee shops in the region, 63% of industry leaders surveyed across Saudi Arabia and the UAE cited the growth of specialty coffee as the most important consumer trend affecting the MENA coffee shop market. Additionally, 24% of those surveyed identified coffee connoisseurism as a key consumer trend.
ELLE also operates four coffee shops under a separate ELLE Café brand in Thailand, Japan and Taiwan.