A couple who run a popular community corner shop in Hove have taken over a nearby café which closed after receiving a zero out of five “scores on the door” hygiene rating.
They are due to open Café O this morning (Thursday 23 February) from 7.30am, selling café food, cakes and sandwiches as well as “a small Indian menu”.
The café is a new venture for Neil Patel, 35, and his wife Margi, 34. They have been running Oscar’s on the Green, fondly also known as Town’s Corner, in Hangleton Way, for the past five years.
Mr Patel, a Brighton University business studies graduate, took over the store from his parents Mukesh, 70, and Kamini, 69, when they retired.
Shortly afterwards, they rebranded the shop, which has been in the family for 35 years, as Oscar’s on the Green – after their newborn son Oscar. He’s now five and has a three-year-old brother called Ollie.
And now Neil and Margi Patel have branched out to start their own café at the shopping parade by the Grenadier pub.
The couple have taken over the Bread Bin – known locally as the Dough Boy – on the corner of Applesham Avenue and West Way.
The previous owners faced having to spend a lot of money after receiving a zero out of five hygiene rating last June.
Mr Patel said that the closure presented an opportunity to expand and that he had taken over the premises in November.
He said that he had since spent more than £20,000 on bringing it up to scratch, adding: “It was literally gutted right back to the brickwork. A lot of money has been put in. I need it to work.”
A “launch party” on Saturday (18 February) suggested that the prospects are promising, with crowds packing out the place to sample what Café O has to offer.
One local, James Tulley, said on the Happenings in Hangleton Facebook page that it was “the most anticipated event at the Grenadier since the Queen opened the library in 1962”.
Mr Patel said that Café O’s opening hours would be 7.30am to 2pm for now, adding: “We hope to expand the hours once we’ve found our feet.”
Next door, the Mandarin Garden Chinese takeaway has also reopened after closing to refurbish its kitchen.