A ‘secret’ Chesterfield cafe beat off fierce competition to be crowned Derbyshire Times Cafe of the Year.
Homemade food, good value, service with a smile and a ‘mega’ breakfast are just some of the things which helped The Wheatbridge cafe claim the accolade.
The cafe on Wheatbridge Road, is situated in the old factory canteen at Robinson’s, the famous Chesterfield packaging company and its current proprietors still maintain links with current and former staff members.
Theresa Walters, who runs the cafe, said: “I can’t believe it but I am incredibly proud.
“I don’t doubt my ability to do what I do but I never thought we had a chance of actually winning.”
She added: “They call us the ‘secret cafe’ because we’re a bit difficult to find but we certainly won’t be a secret anymore!”
Theresa received a letter about a month ago saying they had been nominated and after the piece appeared in the Derbyshire Times they started getting the voting slips brought into the cafe.
Asked why their customers like the cafe so much Theresa’s modestly says: “I suppose it’s mainly because our prices are so low but it’s all good food.
“Our produce is locally sourced as much as is possible.
“There are a few things we have to buy in but all our veg is from local suppliers.
“And it’s also as much home made stuff as I can,” she added.
However one of the cafe’s biggest draws is undoubtedly their ‘mega’ breakfast.
For just £3.30 customers are treated to two bacon, two sausage, two eggs, hash browns, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and black pudding.
Theresa admits she thought the cafe’s location and appearance might mean it would lose out for the top award but the Wheatbridge’s customers voted in their droves to put them top of the pile.
Run solely by Theresa for the last 12 years, relying on just one other, part time employee and also has a catering company, KLC Catering, which does weddings and business lunches.
She said business had been quieter recently but hopes the award will give them a much needed boost.
As well as reluctantly accepting much deserved praise for her achievement Theresa was quick to heap praise on the cafe’s regular customers who she says are “wonderful.”
She added: “One of them, Pam Neeson, who nominated us for the award, brings a lot of older people into the cafe every day.
“I’d like to give her a special thank you.”
Ultimately, she says, the feedback she gets in person and on the cafe’s Facebook page is what make the job so enjoyable.
“I do work hard but it doesn’t seem like it because I love what I do.”