El Petit cafe in Soller. | Facebook

The Soller vibe changes in November as the Valley returns to its roots. A resident population of 13,500 with huge seasonal increases as visitors arrive. This is our world, and everyone has an opinion. The majority accept that Soller enjoys its life in 2023 from tourism income. In the recent past it was a factory town and with an income to match. Prior to that it was citrus trade to France, and beyond which paid the bills. The Soller Valley, like most places in Mallorca bend with the times. I am not developing a ‘saturation’ theme here as I believe that constant repetition of issues switches people off. It is obvious that those with power and influence must address this to make life comfortable for all residents and the visitors who support the economy.

In the business world in Soller the November sales and acquisitions are the talking point. Life moves on, people retire, and businesses change hands. Others who opened cafes and shops last year realise they haven’t got it quite right. This opens the door for others to take their place. So it is for El Petit in Soller square, and we celebrated their latest business move this week. Maria and Martin were significant in the hotel Salvia world where Martin was the chef everyone raved about. The restaurant there was a ‘hot ticket’ in its time. Covid came, and life changed for hotels. The café El Petit opened in the Square and Martin’ skills were focussed on lunches and tastes of the ‘light bite’ variety. This place took salads, paninis and the like to a new level and soon became the place to go.

The excitement this week is that, just across the street, a venue became available which will allow Martin’s considerable talent to be put to a true ‘bistro’ level. They have signed the papers, picked up the keys and will open Petit Bistro in February. This is considered exceptional news in our world, and we are all very happy for them. Two restaurants now and the concept began from Covid decisions.

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Meanwhile the Swedish buzz is too loud to ignore. The word on the street says Soller is to have a significant opening by a Swedish super chef. I know lots of details but can’t print them yet. What I can say is, look out for the signs of life in a strategic, interesting, building on a significant square. Opening date is still proving hard to find out but when they launch you will hear it very loudly.

These are two of many changes coming our way this autumn. Puerto Soller has its own changes which I will gather for another day. Every year brings new interest and businesspeople wondering if they will be a good fit here. Some, like the Es Canyis restaurant have a longevity which will be celebrated in 2024. 70 years on the Repic Beach location, with a great history to match. The celebrations will be a class act and richly deserved.

All the restaurants must think of locals and residents in their quiet season. The annual debate about the capacity of people of average income to ‘eat out’ is loud. This is relevant in a place like Soller which is a working town and expects to be catered for. Some restaurants close for the season as their costs mean they cannot offer a winter price option. Others are special occasion restaurants and customers always find the cash for that. Those left walk a fine line between empty tables and reasonable local prices. As I said, this is an annual debate.

I found 10 public toilets this week in Soller. Regular readers will know that Soller is short of them, and this is an ongoing debate. I was on platform level of the Soller train and found, wonder of wonders, 10 toilets! Catering obviously for the hundreds of train passengers who come our way every day. I was so impressed and am happy to pass on the information. Yes, the downside is that when the train isn’t running the toilets are shut, but this information might be of use to some. Knowledge is power – especially when you need the toilet.