A SOUTH SIDE coffee spot that has become a much-loved part of the community now hopes to make the same impact on Glasgow's East End.

Transylvania Food and Coffee opened its doors to customers at the weekend as Dracula arrived in Tollcross.

Owners Daniel Radu and Alex Ghimpu are from the Transylvanian region of Romania – most famously known as the home of the bloodthirsty noble.

The café is the couple’s second venture, with their first coffee spot located in the city’s Govanhill.

It was a busy weekend for the pair as indoor reservations were fully-booked for the venue’s grand opening on Saturday.

Glasgow Times: Transylvania Food and Coffee owners Daniel Radu and Alex Ghimpu outside their new venture in TollcrossTransylvania Food and Coffee owners Daniel Radu and Alex Ghimpu outside their new venture in Tollcross

Ahead of opening, Daniel said: “I’m quite nervous about it to be honest, but hopefully everything will go well.

“We’ve been receiving so many messages online from people saying that they can’t wait for us to open.”

The café offers a range of speciality dishes from the owners’ homeland, including tripe soup, boeuf salad and cabbage rolls.

Alex said they have established the shop with the aim of showing people “the real story of Transylvania”.

He added: “When we created this place, we created it for the people. We want to show them our traditions because the first thing you do in Transylvania is eat and drink.

“That’s the most important thing. First, you eat and drink – then you get down to business.

“I think we’re a bit more special than other shops because we offer customers an experience; we talk to the guests and really try to transport them to Transylvania.”

The owners of the café teased eastenders with what they could expect from the new shop on social media.

The duo opened their first shop, Transylvania Shop and Coffee, last June after experiencing a tough time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Daniel said: “In February last year, Alex lost his job at the hotel he worked for. Then I was due to start a job at McDonald’s on March 23 but, because of the national lockdown, everything had to close.

“At that point, I realised that we needed to do something – and it had always been our dream to own a business.

The couple had dreams to start up their own B&B in Tyndrum, but soon realised it wouldn’t be practical due to the lack of affordable housing in the Scottish Highlands.

“During the pandemic, we only had a limited amount of money, so we phoned the bank and they were able to help us out with setting up our first shop,” Daniel added.

“We did everything ourselves within the space of a month – we painted the walls, we made the sign for the front of the shop and we even made shelves out of apple crates.”

The popular South Side spot can be found on the corner of Prince Edward Street and Victoria Road and was a hit with locals straight away.

The shop, which has just celebrated its one-year anniversary, stocks Romanian and Hungarian snacks, fresh produce, cakes, homemade bread and offers takeaway drinks.

Alex said: “When we opened up last summer, it was crazy. So many people were curious. After we put up our sign and Dracula logo, it went mental – everyone kept turning up outside to take pictures.

“Some people don’t even know that Transylvania is a real place. All they associate it with is Dracula, but there’s so much more to it than that.

“Not many people know about our food because it hasn’t been made popular here. We didn’t open this shop just for Romanian people, we opened it for everyone.”

The exterior of the East End café has also been given a new lease of life by Glasgow street artist Negative Destination, who spray-painted a flame grill design on the front of the shop.

Daniel explained that a huge selling point for the Tollcross shop is its authentic, homemade food and the guarantee that every dish on the menu is freshly made “from beginning to end”.

Glasgow Times: A selection of the traditional Transylvanian food on offer at Transylvania Food and Coffee in TollcrossA selection of the traditional Transylvanian food on offer at Transylvania Food and Coffee in Tollcross

He said: “I’m not sure if you watch Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, but you won’t get ‘soup of two days ago’ from us.

“Some recipes we use have been passed down from my grandma. She was one of my inspirations and she’d always try to teach me how to cook."

Alex added: “We have thousands and thousands of recipes that we work from.

“I have a recipe book from my mother which was passed down to her from my grandma. It’s so old and yellow, but we still use it."

Alex will manage the new East End venue for the next few weeks, with Daniel taking the reins in the South Side store.

Transylvania Food and Coffee is open every day from 8am until 10pm at 1071 Tollcross Road.