This 1976 retro mobile espresso bar has been through the mill

Introducing: Fadó Coffee

Now operating out of St Patrick’s Mills in Douglas, this retro van has been on quite the journey.

The idea for Fadó came about back in Christmas 2020, when founder Ian Wheelan began researching ideas for a new start-up business. At this time, there was an explosion of coffee vans in Ireland, so Ian wanted to come up with something a little different.

Ian sourced the 1976 Peugeot Van from the Netherlands, where it served as a creperie, and work finally commenced in February ’21. Ian and his friend Peter McCabe had just begun the process of gutting and renovating the van when Ian’s mum suddenly passed away.

Determined to carry on in his mother’s honour, and with a new-found sense of purpose for Fadó, Ian continued to work on his passion project and the van finally opened for business during the summer of ’21. Various covid surges along with multiple mechanical issues saw the van get off to a rocky start, and had to cease operating for 2 months right before Christmas, but Fadó has bounced back with a vengeance.

Speaking to Craving Cork about Fadó’s journey, founder Ian Wheelan mentions:

“It was always my intention to go for something different, a bit quirky or whatever! I feel I found exactly what I was looking for when I landed on this van, I loved its character. It’s great to be able to drive the van around and essentially run a mobile coffee shop”. A lot of people don’t think it drives haha!

“I try to talk about my mum Deirdre a lot as I want her to live on forever. I don’t want this to be a sob story at all but one filled with hope and that you just gotta keep going, she certainly would want me to! Mum lives on through the van and is with me all the time, our brand logo is actually belong to her as it’s her fingerprint with a coffee bean”

Since opening, Fadó has already gained a massive customer-base and is best-known for being a dog-friendly mobile cafe, with ‘puppuchinos’, dog bowls and free dog treats handed out to friendly canine customers.

Fadó makes a conscious effort to be sustainable in everything they do, using only compostable cups, straws, lids, and napkins, and they even give out used coffee grounds to customers for use in gardening. They also play a role in supporting local producers: they have partnered with Badger & Dodo to supply their coffee, and use local suppliers for their milk and cakes, whilst also stocking local gifts such as raw honey, jams, and natural wax candles.

You can catch Ian and the gang over at St. Patricks Woollen Mills in Douglas Wednesday – Saturday from 9am-3pm, and if you’re in the market for a quirky mobile espresso van for an event, they also cater for weddings, parties and corporate events. You can contact Ian at and be sure to follow Fadó’s journey on Instagram.

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