Popular cafe thrilled with high street venue
THE owners of a popular dale café, which had to close its doors on its premises after 30 years due to the coronavirus lockdown, are looking forward to opening in a new location next month.
Husband and wife team Stephen and Sheena Aldred, with their daughter Nicola Stephenson, had to shut The Stables Café in Horsemarket, Barnard Castle, when they were unable to access Government grants.
After lockdown they operated a takeaway roast dinner service for their customers, many of whom were elderly and shielding at home.
However, at the end of May they took the difficult decision to close the doors of their café’s location at the Hayloft.
They were able to continue serving customers with their takeaway roast dinners, however, when The Hub, on Shaw Bank, offered its kitchens for a limited time. Now with the help of Durham County Council, the Stables has found a new home and the team is working hard to refurbish the former charity shop in Horsemarket ready to serve customers once again by the beginning of next month.
“We’re really excited,” said Ms Stephenson. “It’s good to be on the high street and it will be different but we’re the same and we’ll be offering the same service and menu.”
Regulars to the family-run café, which was started by Mrs Aldred’s mother, Phyllis Stoddart, in 1991, will be delighted to hear she is coming out of retirement to help out.
Ms Stephenson added: “I’m pushing to open for August 1, but it may be a week later as we’ve got the kitchen to sort.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do to get it ready, but we’ve got the signs up ready.
“Durham County Council’s regeneration team have been brilliant and really supportive and we can’t thank them enough for the help.”
The new premises will allow for about 40 diners, though this will be limited to begin with due to social distancing.
She added: “We’ve got so many plans and long term we’re going to renovate the garden at the back to give some al fresco dining and we’ve got the paperwork in at the moment for some tables at the front. “We’re conscious a lot of our regular customers are still nervous about coming out or are still shielding so we’re going to carry on our takeaway service on a daily basis with limited delivery to regulars.
“We just can’t wait and we’ll be completely Covid-secure and customer ready.”