Gourmet café themed around the Scottish Enlightenment, of all things
What better way to honour the first African American to hold a medical degree than with a delicious sandwich? Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly the idea at this classy café on Duke Street, which is named after intellectual and abolitionist Dr James McCune Smith, who studied in Glasgow after being refused entry to institutions at home. First and foremost, it’s about excellent food.
Former Glasgow School of Art student Dan Taylor initially took on this premises as a design studio, before being forced into a business re-think as costs ran out of control. Despite having no experience of running a café, he drafted in a few friends who did, and opened McCune Smith in 2013 in what was hitherto a relative dead zone for dining out. Its name and theme were drawn from Taylor’s personal fascination with the Scottish Enlightenment.
Behind a handsome black frontage and big windows lies a bright, airy, uncluttered space with just a few tables, each overhung by a stylish Harris Tweed barrel lampshade. The sandwiches are very loosely conceived around attributes of key Scottish Enlightenment figures – a New York deli classic for McCune Smith, for instance, or Mediterranean-themed feta and olives for neoclassical architect Robert Adam. Served on fresh, locally sourced artisan bread and overflowing with delicious fillings, they’re among the best sandwiches in town.
Breakfast options include rolls of bacon or pork and leek sausage, or healthier options such as yoghurt pots or banana cinammon toast. There’s always a tempting selection of fresh sweets and cakes available throughout the day, usually with a nice Scottish twist, from bramble and panna cotta tart to rocky road made with Tunnock’s Teacakes. All told, food for body and mind alike.
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3-5 Duke Street
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