Welcome to The Old Gaol On Church Square

Established in 2001 by Brin & Judi Rebstein at Swellendam’s museum precinct, the Old Gaol Coffee shop began as a fledgling private empowerment venture.

Before long a great partnership developed, with several local ladies employed in the restaurant.  Steadily gaining skills and confidence, four of them received 30% equity in the Old Gaol in 2004. Current owners of this share, Charlene Mfundisi and Michelle Dyantyi, subsequently acquired the interests from the other ladies in 2007.

As the Old Gaol Coffee shop gained an ever-widening reputation for its traditional foods (originally ‘Melktert’ baked in a copper pan and ’Roosterkoek’ baked over the coals), so the menu has grown, to include authentic dishes like old-fashioned chicken pie, bobotie & sambals, waterblommetjie or tomato bredie, Cape curries and the ever-popular lamb shanks or oxtail. All typical Daily Specials that reflect the love of great food and the commitment of this proud and spirited team.

This determination was fully tested when the coffee shop was unable to extend the lease at the original museum premises – but this wonderful old house, fortuitously, became available on Swellendam’s historical Church Square!  Previously known as ‘Rondene’, the house was once the ‘townhouse’ of Judi’s great-grandfather Jacobus Willem van Eeden, a farmer at Rheenendal and a member of parliament for Swellendam district.  Research is currently underway, and will be followed by an exhibition within the walls of the Old Gaol on Church Square, rekindling memories and a sense of history that lie at the heart of this establishment.

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