One of Cardiff’s best-loved restaurants has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help to fund the opening of its first bricks-and-mortar site.

The husband and wife team behind Dusty Knuckle are hoping to raise £40,000 to help them refurbish an old park-warden’s bungalow in Sophia Gardens – and turn it into one of the city’s most sustainable, food and drink venues.

Dusty Knuckle is one of the city’s biggest pop-up-to-permanent success stories. Having started life selling pizza from a homemade oven at local markets in 2014, the award-winning outfit has gone from strength to strength; its portfolio now includes two permanent, outdoor restaurants in Cardiff and St Davids, a pitch at Ogmore-By-Sea and a pop-up element which caters for festivals, weddings and events up and down the country.

The Vision

But now, founders Phill and Debs Lewis say they want to create one of country’s most sustainable, exciting, independent restaurants, right in the centre of Cardiff.

They signed a 10-year lease for a former park-warden’s bungalow in Sophia Gardens in November last year.

Phill explained: “We looked for the perfect venue for a long time, and when the Warden’s House came up, we knew this was it. The site will allow us to make the most of our strengths; to have an open kitchen where customers can watch our chefs at work; a small kitchen garden for us to gather produce; and a massive outside seating space for people to be surrounded by nature, with the park and castle as the backdrop.”

The Sustainable Philosophy

Developing the warden’s house site in a sustainable way that fits with the Dusty Knuckle ethos does have one drawback; it will certainly be more expensive.

“We’ve always had a sustainable philosophy at the core of our business,” explained Phill.

“Last year we won the people’s choice award in the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good awards, and we’ll be working with the SRA right from the very beginning of the warden’s house renovations, to ensure that sustainability is systemic to the building – as well as our food.”

“But doing things in a way that is sympathetic to the environment, often costs more. And that’s why we’ve decided to ask for some help.”

The couple are hoping to raise £40,000 to enable them to commit to making the most sustainable choices when developing the warden’s house site; including avoiding unnecessary chemicals, instead opting for an ancient Japanese wood preserving technique, Yakisugi, involving charring the surface of the wood to create a natural protection from the elements.

In addition, they are looking to install rainwater recycling system, a composting machine to compost food scraps, and are looking at the possibility of keeping honey bees on the roof. The instalment of huge, double-glazed bi-fold doors will also give the restaurant plenty of natural light and ventilation, reducing the need for air con, extraction and electric heating.

Aside from the physical elements, they are also discussing an employment scheme for disadvantaged groups, and schemes to make the restaurant accessible to families and individuals who may not otherwise be in a position to eat out.

The Rewards

A variety of rewards are on offer to tempt pledges; from gift vouchers for the Warden’s House (when it opens), private pizza-making workshops, and having Dusty Knuckle cater your wedding.

For a pledge of £4,000, backers can even get a Dusty Knuckle black card, granting them ‘free’ pizza for life!

“We always said we wanted to do things on our own, but the time has come to take Dusty Knuckle to the next level,” Debs surmised.

“We really hope that people will get behind us and help make our vision for this amazing venue a reality.”

To pledge your support for Dusty Knuckle’s Kickstarter campaign, visit: