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The PRC Stories: Søly
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Søly – a local eatery in the heart of Vedbæk

Søly is not only a restaurant but also a local gathering point that opened in Vedbæk in 2023. The owners - Helle Schweers Lehmann and Carl Gustav Lehmann have lived in the area since 2016. They missed a place where they could get a high-quality coffee, just like they used to in Copenhagen, so they decided to change that.
Previously the owners had different careers. Helle was a product owner, working with software development, and Carl Gustav worked in the family company, selling ginger shots and marmalade. Now they have three kids and a dog and run Søly.
Recently we paid them a visit and asked a few questions about this interesting and inspiring place.

"Søly is the place that we, ourselves, have been missing since we moved from the bustling city life in Copenhagen to the beautiful but also sleepy Vedbæk.

We wanted to move here because we love the area, with its beaches and forest close by, but we also wanted to enjoy high-quality coffee, freshly baked bread and good food like we were used to in the city.

We missed a place to hang out while on maternity leave, to take our kids after school and kindergarten for an afternoon coffee and snack and a place to meet with friends on weekends for brunch.

So Søly is all that and more. A social bistro that offers high-quality comfort food made from scratch, and a place where everyone should feel welcome and can enjoy our beautiful surroundings."

The PRC Stories: Søly
The PRC Stories: Søly
The PRC Stories: Søly
The PRC Stories: Søly

With no background in the restaurant business, how did you approach creating Søly?

We have been both naive, humble and uncompromising in creating Søly. We wanted our guests to feel that we cared for every single detail. From coffee to music to the interior and of course the food. 

Søly is in some ways an extension of us, and we wanted to create a place that we are proud of and a place where we proudly stand behind our choices and what we present to our guests. Quality and care have been guiding stars from the outset.

We also knew from the start, that we needed people on our team who had experience since we had none. This part has been challenging since we actually had no network in the industry.

First, we built the project team who were part of the renovation, design and construction process. We have a great friend who is a skilled architect. Then by chance, we met a couple at our age who had experience in the industry and were happy to help us with their contacts. Then finally, we knew one chef from a restaurant that we loved and we have been lucky to get him on board as well. He is the genius behind our food along with the rest of the fantastic chefs in the kitchen. Our restaurant manager luckily applied for a position and we knew from the beginning that she had the right personality for Søly. The kind of person who is great with guests and with staff.

The guiding principle for building the team has definitely been to find people who buy into the concept of Søly and care about the project as much as we do. And we have been lucky to find these people along the way.

Tell us more about the name Søly and the historical house.

Søly was a house built in 1862 by a local carpenter and his wife. They lived there and also rented out some rooms to travellers.  

When we started the project we found out that the house is preserved and then we started researching and found the history of it. We were also able to retrieve old images.In one photo we saw ‘Søly’ written on the façade of the house and we immediately knew that we had found the right name. It signals that we are close to the sea and it is a name that you give a house and a home. And we have wanted to create a place that feels like home.

Why did you choose Vedbæk as the location for your eatery?

The location chose us. We live in Vedbæk and pass by every day when we drop our kids off to school and kindergarten. And every time we drove by or spent time on the beach nearby we looked at the house and started talking about what kind of place we could create there if it was ours.

One day we decided to just investigate if the owner of the restaurant that was there, would be interested in selling the place to us - so Carl Gustav drove by and knocked on the door. 6 months later we signed the lease.

We just couldn’t leave the thought alone and decided that we would regret not trying out this adventure together. As you enter Søly you immediately feel a sense of cosiness, quality and craftsmanship.

Can you share some details of the ambience?

The guiding principle for the atmosphere at Søly was to create a homely, personal vibe that invites our guests to come here for different experiences.

We have a bar at the centre where you can come alone to work, read a book and follow the work in the kitchen. We have a sofa area where you can lean back and enjoy the view of the restaurant and sit with your kids while playing a card game, and finally the restaurant towards the ocean where you can share food, and engage in conversations while looking out on the view.

When we go out ourselves we always enjoy looking at the small details of the interior and the interior should make you feel comfortable and want to come back again and again.

What does quality mean to you?

Quality for us is everything. It means making an effort and working with people who take pride in what they do and are good at it too. It means choosing good, long-lasting materials. It means carefully selecting the best suppliers and produce for our food.

We believe that investing in good quality pays off in the end and provides long-term success for Søly.

What to order for breakfast or lunch at Søly?

Honestly, we love the entire menu that we have curated and we are proud of every single dish.

Our avocado toast, we would say, is one of the most surprising and unique dishes on the breakfast menu. The sourdough pancake feels like a warm hug and the French toast is to die for.

For lunch, bring your friends so you can share the whole menu and indulge in a long lunch with plenty of wine and good conversation.

Can you share a bit about your plans and hopes for Søly?

We hope that Søly will become a local favourite and that our guests will come back often and be happy each time. We aim to maintain and increase the quality of what we do all the time.

In the future, we want to also inspire and bring people together around various events such as long table dinners, Christmas markets, book clubs and interior design workshops.

The PRC Stories: Søly
The PRC Stories: Søly