The oldest and one of the best greasy spoon cafes in Bristol to close
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Thirteen years ago, Bristol bus station canteen manager Charmaine Daveridge spotted a ‘to let’ sign outside The Fountain Cafe in east Bristol. Telling her husband Alan she was interested, he replied ‘I’ll eat my hat if you make that work’ - and so Charmaine determinedly took it on.
Fast forward to today, and the 62-year-old can proudly say she runs one of the most successful greasy spoons in all of the city - and yes, she’s still with her husband!
But on Saturday, Mrs Daveridge will be closing the cafe she runs with her daughter and two daughter-in-laws for the final time. The building in Church Road is being sold, and the family team is moving to a new spot less than a mile away.
“It’ll be the same - the menu, the homemade cakes, the lasagnes and curries,” she told Bristol World, “it’ll just be in a new place under a new name. We’re really sad to leave but keen to continue where we left off and keep out customers coming.”
The team will move into the former Gillian’s Cafe & Sandwich Bar in Crofts End Road, which shut on Friday. With the owner unable to continue operating the cafe, it was a good fit for The Fountain Cafe team, which will leave their old name - inspired by a fountain once used for feeding horses outside - behind.
The move has had to come about because the owner of The Fountain Cafe building left in his will a desire for the building to be sold, and in a month it will go up at auction. It will be shame for the site, which has had a greasy spoon cafe there since 1955.
It is said to be the oldest greasy spoon in the city - and one of the best, as Bristol World discovered in a visit earlier this year. When we were there, a regular cooked breakfast cost £5.50, and that included a tea or coffee. ‘A timeless gem’, we called it.
Asked how she had made it a success, Mrs Daveridge said: “I haven’t skimped on any products we use. We have always tried to give our customers the highest quality food - and at a good price. People love the fried bread we do. They also like the homemade pies and cakes.
“It’s going to be very sad leaving on Saturday. But we’ll continue all the work at the new place - we look forward to seeing everyone there.”