Young couple reopen café in Stratford town centre
A STRATFORD café is back in business after it was taken over by a young couple embarking on their first business venture together.
Homemade dishes served in a traditional way will be the pair’s recipe for success at the Deli Café in Meer Street.
Lauren Watson and Dan Liggins first viewed the business last August when Guy and Jean Haslam served their last cuppa and said “farewell” to loyal customers after 21 years in charge.
Lauren, 26, and Dan, 32, were working in conference and events at the University of Warwick for a number of years before deciding to run their own business.
“We always idolised having our own place together – it’s like a dream come true,” Lauren told the Herald. “Some of the regular customers have come back and said how nice it is to be eating here again.
“We have one customer who comes in, orders scampi and chips and a glass of white wine every day. The Deli Café is a lovely building and Stratford is a natural tourist attraction which has a nice community feel about it.”
The couple said when they first opened the café on Tuesday, 1st February, they were determined to keep some homemade classics on the menu and with the help of chef, George Kostas, and an enthusiastic, hardworking team everything is prepared and cooked on site.
“We thought about what people really wanted and have kept the English breakfast on the menu and there’s a vegetarian option too,” Lauren said. “The current best seller is avocado on toast, but the cream teas are also going down well. My favourite soup of the day is roasted sweet potato and carrot while Dan likes the lasagne or quiche. We change our pies two or three times a week, we’ve got jacket potatoes, paninis, sandwiches and baguettes and a drinks licence too. What we wanted to do most of all was to offer a varied menu which is reasonably priced.”
The Covid pandemic hit business and retail in Stratford hard and the catering and hospitality industry suffered during lockdown and the recent resurgence as Omicron spread rapidly through the country.
Dan and Laura had to think carefully about the right time to re-open the Deli Café, but have taken the plunge and have a steady stream of customers.
“Given the last few years, it’s nice to see people enjoying themselves again and hugging and laughing but we’re still abiding by the rules,” Lauren continued. “We will be open for Mother’s Day and we’re looking at evening openings for pre-theatre drinks and the café is available for private bookings as well.”
Lauren and Dan are “proud and excited” about the future of their venture.
“We work really well together and have said let’s make it the best we can for the rest of our lives. We’re best mates, we have a laugh and a joke with each other and with our awesome staff and we look forward to every day at work and remind ourselves there’s always tomorrow,” said Lauren.