Lingua World cafe’, derived from Latin meaning language or tongue, is living up to its name and image that the owners Ian Warney and Ulala Sasa had for the restaurant. With various events each week and a funfor- the-whole-family environment, community is the name of the game for Lingua World Cafe’. The owners are constantly hosting events and workshops, and trying new ideas in order to connect people and get them involved in the community. Not only is the atmosphere fantastic, but the food cannot go unmentioned. Lingua offers a variety of dishes that makes you remember the good ol’ home cooking you had growing up. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available and are to die for. Life in Kansai is happy to present Lingua World Cafe’ for the first restaurant in our interview series.
I love that the restaurant seems so family friendly! How did it come about that your shop would cater well to both children and adults? Give me a rough timeline.
I had always wanted to own a small shop of my own. When my wife and I settled here in Japan, we started looking for spaces that would fit strollers easily. My wife was joined some MamaTomo groups but it was stressful finding a place to meet. It would always be hard going to cake shops and have no place to put all of the bags and strollers. We worked that into the concept from the beginning, so we have a kids area and are completely smoke free.
Do you have separate menus as well? I noticed there is quite a wide range.
We do have a kids menu. There aren’t many places that offer that in the area. We wanted to provide good quality food and delicious drinks so that both the adults and kids could relax and have a great time.
Speaking about the food, I see that there are vegan options here too! How did that come about?
Yes! My father in Canada is vegetarian, so I can understand it from both sides. I am happy to give all customers a chance to choose and vegans a place where they can come to eat as well. I am currently wanting to expand my vegan menu.
What are some others things that your shop offers? Can you give me a list of the events that go on here?
Wow! There are quite a few. There are monthly exhibitions held here. We have a wide range of local artists showing their work. Performances are also a couple of times a month. Children’s Storytime, Open Mic Nights, Halloween parties for kids. The list goes on. These can be all checked out from Facebook!
It’s amazing that you can juggle all of these things! What are some challenges for you daily?
We have been in this business for a year and a half now, but challenges are always arising. Currently we are figuring out what kind of flyers work and how to best keep the website updated. Our menu changed so we are going to be updating that soon.
Last but not least! If someone else was looking to open their own shop, what would be some advice you would give them?
Don’t rush. Don’t fall in love with the location or the details of the concept right away. It is also important to take risks, but mix that with Kaizen (Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement). Work bit by bit and change things as you go. Another thing that was important to us was to be a part of the community. Talk to different restaurant owners or people and the support will come. In this kind of business teamwork is a big factor in becoming successful.
By Life in Kansai
Message from Ian:
Thank you so much for reading the interview! In September we will have many events along with a possible neighborhood treasure hunt. Keep updated from the website and Facebook. Please get in contact if you would like to work with us.